Maryland authorities said a judge was the victim of “a targeted attack” when he was gunned down outside his home Thursday night.
Law enforcement is looking for Pedro Argote in the killing of Washington County Circuit Court Assistant Judge Andrew Wilkinson. Authorities said there was a hearing earlier on Thursday, during which Wilkinson awarded child custody to a woman in Argote’s divorce.
Argote was not present for that proceeding, they said.
“This was a targeted attack on judge Wilkinson,” Washington County Sheriff Brian K. Albert said during a Friday morning press conference, adding that Argote, 49, has not been apprehended yet, and he is considered armed and dangerous. The suspect legally owns a firearm.
Wilkinson, 52, died after the shooting in his driveway on Olde Waterford Road in Hagerstown after 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. His wife and son were home at the time, according to authorities.
Authorities responded to Argote’s residence for “verbal domestic assaults” twice within the last two years, but he does not have a prior criminal record in Washington County, Albert said.
The sheriff’s office said Argote drives “a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450, displaying Maryland registration plates 4EH0408.”
Washington County court records show that Wilkinson presided over a judgment hearing in Argote’s divorce case stemming from 2022 on Thursday. The next hearing was scheduled for Oct. 31.
Wilkinson had been an associate judge for the 4th Judicial Circuit since 2020, according to his profile on the Washington County website. He was born in Guam in 1971 and earned his degrees from the University of North Carolina and Emory University School of Law.
The judge was pronounced dead at Meritus Medical Center.
Alert said the sheriff’s office does not believe there is an ongoing threat to other judges in the area.
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