Neighborhood on edge as APD searches for shooter on the loose

AUSTIN, Texas— The Austin Police Department is looking for the person or those responsible for shooting State District Judge Julie Kocurek in her driveway Friday night in West Austin.

Dudley McCalla lives across the street from Judge Kocurek’s home and said he and his wife were in bed at the time.

“We were both in bed a little after 10, and we both heard, we both agree, about four obvious gun shots, rapid succession, no pause,” McCalla said, adding it's not something residents in the Tarrytown neighborhood hear often. “We just haven't had problems here. We like to think it's extremely safe and believe it to be.”

Yellow crime scene tape blocked off parts of Scenic Drive Saturday as police looked for clues as to who shot Judge Kocurek.

By air and on the ground, APD searched for any signs of the shooter Friday night. Detectives said because it happened during the night, they don't have a lot of information.

“It's very disheartening and scary to know that. This is a very safe neighborhood,” said Katherine Botts, another resident in the Tarrytown neighborhood.

MORE: APD speaks on Travis County judge shot outside her home

With a shooter on the loose, APD is telling residents to be on the lookout.

“What I would love to report is that we had someone in custody, and that I could eliminate those concerns. The truth is that, at this point, we don't have somebody in custody, so people should use that heightened state of awareness and call 911 if, in fact, they see anything that appears to be suspicious,” APD Commander Mark Spangler said.

Detectives are working to find out if this shooting is in any way connected to cases Kocurek may have presided over. Her neighbor McCalla practiced law and said it was the first thing he thought of when he heard the news.

“I have lived in Austin, and in Texas, long enough and have practiced law enough that I am aware of very random, and not often fortunately, that judges have been targeted by individuals that they've had some connection,” McCalla said.

Connection or not, for some residents, the not knowing is unnerving.

“What can we look for as a community, you know? We are very active around here and there's people walking around,” Botts said. “Should we call-in suspicious cars or, you know, is there someone we should be looking for? Nothing has been told to us, so it's a very difficult and scary.”