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Wounded Steubenville judge oversaw shooting suspect's lawsuit

Ohio judge ambush?
Ohio judge ambush? 02:50

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Records show an Ohio judge shot and wounded outside his courthouse was overseeing a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the man suspected of shooting him. 

Authorities say suspect Nathaniel Richmond was fatally shot by the judge's bailiff during the Monday altercation. The judge also fired several shots. 

Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. underwent emergency surgery after the shooting and is expected to survive. 

Bruzzese, 65, was overseeing a wrongful-death case that Richmond filed against a housing authority over a fire that killed Richmond's mother and his 2-year-old nephew. 

A hearing on a motion by the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority to dismiss punitive damages claims was set for Aug. 28. Attorneys for the agency declined to comment Monday. Messages were left for Richmond's attorneys in the lawsuit. 

Richmond was the 51-year-old father of a Steubenville High School football player convicted of rape in 2013.  

Ma'Lik Richmond served about 10 months in a juvenile lockup after being convicted with another Steubenville High School football player of raping a 16-year-old girl during an alcohol-fueled party in 2012.  A prosecutor said authorities aren't aware of a connection between the rape case and the shooting. A visiting judge from Hamilton County and not Bruzzese handled the vast majority of the Steubenville rape case.     

Court records show Richmond filed the lawsuit against the Jefferson County Metropolitan Housing Authority in April. Bruzzese was overseeing the case. A hearing on a motion by the housing authority to dismiss punitive damages claims was set for Aug. 28. 

The shooting happened about four hours after Richmond was warned about his headlights during a traffic stop, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register in nearby West Virginia reported.

Richmond arrived at a neighboring bank a short while before the shooting, left, then returned and walked quickly toward the judge from a parked car and fired, and the judge returned fire, said Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla.

Surveillance video captured the scene in Steubenville in eastern Ohio, Abdalla said.

Court records show Richmond was arrested in April 2016 on charges of driving-under-the-influence and driving with expired plates, with the DUI charge ultimately downgraded to reckless operation. Several years ago he was arrested on various domestic violence and assault charges, court records show.

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