Official: Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were "targeted" in killing

This photo from the Kaufman County, Texas web site shows District Attorney Mike McLelland. Kaufman County (http://www.kaufmancounty.net/da.html)

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

KAUFMAN, Texas Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland took no chances after one of his assistant prosecutors was assassinated two months ago. McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere he went and took extra care when answering the door at his home.

"I'm ahead of everybody else because, basically, I'm a soldier," the 23-year Army veteran boasted in an interview less than two weeks ago.

On Saturday, he and his wife were found dead in their home just outside the town of Forney, about 20 miles from Dallas, killed in an attack for which authorities have given no motive.

Sources told CBS Dallas station KTVT the DA was shot multiple times with what is believed to be an assault rifle, while Cynthia McLelland was only shot once. Sources also say that there were no signs of forced entry.

CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reports the McLellands were apparently getting ready for bed when the shootings occured. McLelland's wife was found in her nightgown and the couple's dogs were locked in a kennel, a source told CBS News.

Kaufman, Texas
Media gather at the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center in Kaufman, Texas, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in advance of a news conference, as the U.S. and Texas state flags fly at half-staff.
AP Photo/Mike Fuentes

"Everybody's a little on edge and a little shocked," Forney Mayor Darren Rozell told The Associated Press on Sunday. "It appears this was not a random act."

Rozell, whose suburban Dallas city is nearest the slaying scene, said earlier the attack "appears to be a targeted act," in an effort to calm the 40,000 residents in the area.

The killings came less than two weeks after Colorado's prison chief was gunned down at his front door by a white-supremacist ex-convict, and two months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot to death in a parking lot a block from his office Jan. 31. No arrests have been made in Hasse's slaying.

The incident has raised concerns for prosecutors across Texas, and some were taking extra security precautions. Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said security would be increased at the courthouse in Kaufman but declined to say if or how other prosecutors in McLelland's office would be protected.

Byrnes confirmed Sunday that the McLellands had been shot. As for whether their deaths were related to Hasse's slaying, Byrnes said there was nothing to indicate that "for sure," but declined to discuss it further during a news conference.

McLelland himself, in an Associated Press interview, raised the possibility that Hasse was gunned down by a white supremacist gang. McLelland, elected DA in 2010, said that Hasse hadn't prosecuted any cases against white supremacists but that his office had handled several, and those gangs had a strong presence in the area.

"We put some real dents in the Aryan Brotherhood around here in the past year," McLelland said after Colorado's corrections director, Tom Clements, was shot to death March 19 when he answered the doorbell.

Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said recently the FBI was checking to see if Hasse's killing could be related to Clements'. Evan Spencer Ebel, a former Colorado inmate and white supremacist who authorities believe killed Clements, died in a March 21 shootout with Texas deputies about 100 miles from Kaufman.

In recent years, the DA's office also prosecuted a case in which a justice of the peace was found guilty of theft and burglary and another case in which a man was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter.

McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere he went, even to walk his dog around town, a bedroom community for the Dallas area. He figured assassins were more likely to try to attack him outside. He said he had warned all his employees to be constantly on the alert.

"The people in my line of work are going to have to get better at it," he said of dealing with the danger, "because they're going to need it more in the future."

The number of attacks on prosecutors, judges and senior law enforcement officers in the U.S. has spiked in the past three years, according to Glenn McGovern, an investigator with the Santa Clara County, Calif., district attorney's office who tracks such cases.

For about a month after Hasse's slaying, sheriff's deputies were parked in the district attorney's driveway, said Sam Rosander, a McLelland neighbor.

The FBI and the Texas Rangers joined the investigation into the McLellands' deaths.

McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were the parents of two daughters and three sons. One son is a police officer in Dallas. The couple had moved into the home a few years ago, Rozell said.

"Real friendly, became part of our community quickly," Rozell said. "They were a really pleasant, happy couple."

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