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Suspect Still Unknown In Kaufman County DA Murder

Mark Hasse (credit: Kaufman County Sheriff's Office)

KAUFMAN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - It was as the workday began on Thursday morning when Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down just feet from the county courthouse.  Now, more than a day later investigators says they have made "no significant advancements" in determining who the murderer is.

Hasse was shot in a main parking lot behind the department of motor vehicles, across the street from the courthouse.

Hasse stepped out of his vehicle in the parking lot designated for Kaufman County employees when he was ambushed by 2 men and gunned down.

According to police, the suspect fired at Hasse several times, with several of those shots hitting him.

While there are no named suspects, or even suspect descriptions, investigators say they have made progress toward developing leads in the case.

As it stands authorities are still on the lookout for at least one suspect, possibly two, who were involved in the shooting.  The individuals are believed to be male and at the time were possibly dressed in black clothing. The race of the suspects is unknown.

According to officials, every resource available is being used to try and identify the suspect/suspects. "Video equipment from all over the city and the county, that we can put our hands on, is being looked at including squad car cameras, that potentially passed a vehicle, including convenience stores," Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said. "And we're talking about days prior as well in case the individuals were casing the area."

Officials said they have completed work at the crime scene and that evidence is currently being processed. The search also continues for a vehicle possible linked to the murder -- as a possibly dark brown or silver-colored sedan, similar to a Ford Taurus, with no license plates.

Crime Stoppers initially offered a $10,000 reward after the shooting, but during the Friday morning press conference Chief Aulbaugh said the fund had grown to $36,500. Add to that the $30,000 that the Dallas County District Attorney's Office is contributing, for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case, and along with other contributions the reward now stands at $71,150.

"We believe… that if someone out there knows what happened, knows who did this, that the reward money is going to be encouragement for them to come forward and tell us," the Chief said.

"It is an urgency to stay on information; what people may have seen, their memories, evidence," he added.

Mark Hasse, 57, was a felony prosecutor for Kaufman County, which means he has regularly had involvement with violent criminals. Chief Aulbaugh said, "We are reviewing Mr. Hasse's cases and following up on any leads within those cases that would give us rise for a person of interest."

After the shooting on Thursday the Kaufman County Courthouse was placed on lockdown and eventually closed. The courthouse is also closed today and Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said security is tight. "We always have a presence in the courthouse, because we are responsible for that security up there. We will continue that for sometime until everybody kinda gets back to normal, whatever that is."

The sheriff said his department is also working to allay any fears that "this is some grand conspiracy or something." He said the attack is believed to have been against a single victim, Hasse, and in no way was part of a vendetta against the county. "We have an effort to try to reassure the employees, that are coming and going everyday, that it is safe."

CBS News learned Hasse was concerned about his safety in recent weeks.

Hasse told longtime friend Colleen Dunbar on January 23 that he was being threatened.  He told her he did not know who was behind the threats, and that he didn't want to discuss the nature of them or how he received them. Dunbar said Hasse was carrying a gun everywhere he went and changed his exit route from work each day.

CBS Reporter Anna Werner

Officials would not comment on the particular condition of Mr. Hasse after the shooting and said they are not going to make a determination on what type of weapon was used in the crime, especially since the ballistic evidence is still being analyzed.

Mark Hasse graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1981 and had been licensed to practice law since 1982. He had been a Kaufman County District Attorney since July of 2010.

Investigators are still asking for tips in the case and encourage that anyone with information contact Kaufman County Crime Stoppers at 877-TIPSKCC (847-7522) or send a text to 274637.

Anyone wanting to contribute to the Mark Hasse reward fund can send a contribution to:

Kaufman County Sheriff's Department
PO Box 849
Kaufman, Texas 75142

Contributions to the Mark Hasse Fund are also being accepted at American National Bank of Texas locations.

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