Suspected Shooter Named in Shooting of Jefferson Co. Judge



Officials have confirmed that Nathaniel Richmond allegedly ambushed and shot Judge Bruzzese Monday morning in front of the court house.

Authorities say Nathaniel “Nate” Richmond is the father of Ma’Lik Richmond.

Ma’Lik, then 17, 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.

Richmond has reportedly been in Jefferson County court many times and has a criminal history.

According to officials, Richmond reportedly pulled up to the scene around 7:13 a.m., then left and came back, waiting to ambush Judge Bruzzese. Sheriff Abdalla reports that Richmond allegedly ran towards Judge Bruzzese and got him on the ground, trying to shoot him.

Counseling will be provided for the employees of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Judges will be protected, and others will be monitored.

Sheriff Abdalla said that there was grumbling and talk to shoot the officer that shot the suspect. He says that he hopes that was talk, and that “force will be met with force.”

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin says if anyone sees comments on social media about retaliation, they must report it to officials.

The passenger is currently in police custody. No information has been released on whether or not he will face charges.

Hanlin says that the Probation Officer that was with Judge Bruzzese during the incident is safe, and in all likelihood saved the judge’s life. His name is not yet being released.

Hanlin says that their thoughts and prayers are with the judge, as he has served Jefferson County for years.

According to officials, no information has been released on how many shots were fired, if the judge actually shot the shooting suspect, or what kind of weapons were used.


According to City Manager Mavromatis, Judge Bruzzese is out of surgery and is doing well.

Mavromatis also reported that the shooting suspect has a criminal record, and a Steubenville address. At this time, Mavromatis said he does not know of ties to the Steubenville Rape Trial, and says that Judge Bruzzese has nothing to do with that.

Officials are currently working to figure out a motive. They have asked for the FBI to come in for possible prosecution of the passenger, and for transparency in the case.


Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown issued the following statement on today’s shooting of Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese, Jr.:

“Connie and I are thinking of Judge Bruzzese and his family, and we pray for his recovery. I join all Ohioans in expressing my gratitude for local law enforcement who responded. My office will support local authorities and the state as they investigate this senseless act.”


According to Sheriff Fred Abdalla, the shooting suspect arrived in the Court Street Alley next to the Jefferson County Courtroom just after 7 this morning.

The suspect had a passenger with him in the car, who reportedly knew nothing about the suspected shooter’s plans. The suspected shooter reportedly told the passenger that he had to appear in court.

Sheriff Abdalla says the shots were fired at approximately 8 a.m.

Judge Bruzzese shot back, and a probation officer behind him shot as well, ultimately taking the suspect down to the ground and killing him.

The judge is currently in surgery in Pittsburgh, and the passenger has been released.


7News Media Partner, The Herald-Star, is reporting that Judge Bruzzese is in serious condition at UPMC following the shooting incident this morning.


According to Sheriff Fred Abdalla, the second person reportedly involved in the shooting is no longer being considered a suspect.

Officials report that the man was taken to Trinity Hospital for treatment after being hit with a ricocheted bullet. After speaking with him, the man is no longer being considered a suspect, and has been released from custody.

Stay with 7News as we continue coverage.


According to officials, Judge Bruzzese is currently in surgery in Pittsburgh.

There has been no update on his condition.

Sheriff Abdalla reported that the body of the dead suspect is still at the crime scene as they continue to investigate.


Officials say they have reviewed surveillance video, and believe they know the identity of the two suspected shooters.

According to City Manager Jim Mavromatis, the one man in custody tried to get away in a stolen vehicle, but backed up into another car.

Mavromatis confirmed that a probation officer, not his bailiff, returned fire.

Officials also believe the judge returned fire as well, as they found his gun lying on the ground.

Stay with 7News as we continue to get updates.


According to Jefferson County officials, a judge has been shot in front of the courthouse.

Sheriff Fred Abdalla confirmed that Judge Joseph Bruzzese, Jr. was shot in front of the courthouse a little after 8 a.m.

Officials say his bailiff returned fire, and killed one of the suspects. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has another suspect in custody currently.

Judge Bruzzese, Jr. has been lifeflighted to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment. Officials say he is currently in stable condition.

The courthouse will remain closed for the day as the investigation continues.

Stay with 7News as details become available.

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