Suspect killed after shooting judge was father of teen athlete in high-profile rape case

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The slain suspect in the shooting of a judge outside an Ohio courthouse Monday morning is the father of a high school football player found delinquent in a high-profile rape case in 2013. The suspect also had a civil case pending before the judge.

The alleged shooter, who died in a shootout after wounding Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. in Steubenville, was identified as Nathaniel Richmond, report the Washington Post, the Steubenville Herald-Star and the Associated Press. Richmond was killed after Bruzzese and a probation officer returned fire.

Bruzzese was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, where he was in serious condition after undergoing surgery. At a Monday afternoon news conference, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said the probation officer had killed Richmond and saved Bruzzese’s life, according to the latest coverage by the Herald-Star.

Richmond “basically shot point-blank at the judge, and we believe he fired five times,” Abdalla said. “The judge used his gun and fired at Richmond. The judge fell and attempted to pick up his gun. At that point, a court probation officer who was coming to work ordered Richmond to drop his weapon and, when Richmond turned to the officer with his gun raised, the officer shot Richmond. Whoever thought this could happen here?”

Richmond was the father of one of two youths found delinquent in connection with the rape of a 16-year-old girl at a party. According to news coverage at the time of the incident, the crime shocked many in the Steubenville community because other students recorded the attack on cellphones.

Bruzzese does not appear to be connected to the juvenile case, but he was presiding over a civil suit brought by Richmond over a fire that killed Richmond’s mother and a great-grandson, according to the Herald-Star. The suit said the housing authority that owned the home had not remedied known defects there, including exposed electrical wiring and nonworking smoke detectors.

Bruzzese was scheduled Monday to consider housing authority motions to dismiss the claim for punitive damages and allegations that it destroyed the house to stymie the civil suit.

The Herald-Star story also reports that Richmond pleaded guilty in 2002 to felonious assault in an alleged drive-by shooting.

Richmond said at a May 9 city council meeting that he was shot a few weeks ago, but police told him there was not enough evidence for prosecution, according to the Herald-Star. He said city council members should be discussing “the influx of drugs into the city, drugs and gangbangers in our town.”




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