Nearly three months after a gunman opened fire in Judge Julie Kocurek’s driveway, Travis County is providing round the clock security for the judge and her immediate family. According to documents, Travis County has spent close to $70,000 on security over the past five weeks. With the case still open it is estimated that the cost of security will go up to $80,000 per month. These costs include 24/7 deputy coverage and patrol coverage the judge and her family.
In November 2015 Travis County Police received an anonymous tip stating that Chimene Onyeri admitted to having caused harm to a judge. Police have since named Onyeri as a suspect in the assassination attempt, and while he is currently in jail in Houston on an unrelated murder case, Travis County police are looking to others who might also have been a part in the crime. People who could still be out in the street, heightening the judge’s risk of safety.
Austin police suspect that Kocurek was targeted because of Onyeri’s pending request for his probation revocation from a 2012 bank fraud case.
Fred Burton, National Security Expert for a local Austin intelligence firm said he believes that there is no other option for the county but to continue to provide this coverage for the time being, “I do think that there is a responsibility and due diligence on the part of the county to provide some level of coverage for the judge.”
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt agrees, “As Travis County employees, we are family… We want to make sure our family is safe."
At the time of the shooting Austin Police released a statement saying that although Judge Kocurek’s were not life threatening, they were “serious."
County officials will be hiring a safety expert in this case to advise them on how long it is recommended for them to keep this level of protection.
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