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Forbes
Forbes
21 Oct 2023


Authorities in Maryland are searching for a man suspected of fatally shooting a state judge in what officials are calling a “targeted attack” outside his home, just hours after the judge ruled in favor of the suspect’s wife in a child-custody case.

Maryland-Judge-Killed

Murder suspect Pedro Argote remains on the run after allegedly shooting a Maryland judge.

Associated Press

Pedro Manuel Argote, 49, is suspected of shooting Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson around 8 p.m. Thursday night outside the late judge’s home in Hagerstown, in north-central Maryland, while his wife and son were inside.

Wilkinson, 52, was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service.

The shooting came the same day as Wilkinson presided over a custody case between Argote and his wife over their four children—ages 3 to 12–with Wilkinson dealing a partial judgment of absolute divorce, ordering Argote to pay $1,120 in monthly child support, and granting Argote’s wife sole possession of their home while blocking Argote from entering the home.

Argote was not present for the hearing, according to Brian Albert, the sheriff of Washington County, Maryland, who said in a press conference on Friday that Argote has been identified as a primary suspect in the shooting, with federal, state and local authorities involved in his search.

Argote, who officials claim is armed and dangerous, is believed to be driving a 2009 silver Mercedes GL 450 with the plate number 4EH0408.

$10,000. That’s how much the size of the reward from the U.S. Marshals Office for information that leads to Argote’s arrest.

Argote’s wife had previously filed a domestic violence petition against Argote in June 2022, claiming he had physically abused one of their daughters and that he kept a weapon in the house, according to court documents obtained by NBC News. That petition was dismissed in less than two weeks.

The search for Argote comes just over a month after convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante led police in Pennsylvania on a two-week chase through the suburbs outside Philadelphia, ultimately leading to his arrest after authorities detected him, using thermal imaging technology, and released a dog in the densely overgrown vegetation where he was hiding. Officials in Washington D.C., meanwhile, conducted a weeks-long search for murder suspect Christopher Haynes last month, after Haynes escaped police custody. Haynes remains at large.

Wilkinson’s death marked the latest threat toward federal and state judges, following the targeted killing of a Wisconsin judge last year, as well as a plan in August by a Texas woman to kill federal District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has overseen former President Donald Trump’s federal election interference case. The suspect in that case, Abigail Jo Shry, was arrested and charged with threatening to kill a judge.

Cavalcante Arrested: Police Pose For Photo Op With Convicted Murderer—Drawing Criticism And Defense (Forbes)