HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A manhunt for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Maryland judge continued for a fourth day Sunday as authorities completed their search of an area where the suspect’s SUV was found.
Officials said Pedro Argote, 49, is suspected of gunning down Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson in his driveway on Thursday, hours after Wilkinson ruled against him in a divorce case.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that the silver Mercedes SUV that Argote was believed to be driving was found in a wooded area in Williamsport, about eight miles (13 kilometers) southwest of Hagerstown, where the judge was shot. On Sunday, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post that authorities have concluded their search of the Williamsport area.
“No further information indicates that Argote is still in the immediate area,” the sheriff’s office said. It urged anyone with information on Argote’s whereabouts to contact authorities.
Wilkinson, 52, was shot the same day he awarded custody of Argote’s children to his wife. Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert said it was a “targeted attack.”
Albert said local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are participating in the search for Argote. The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to Argote’s arrest.
The Marshals Service said Argote has ties to multiple areas outside of Maryland, including Brooklyn and Long Island, New York; Tampa and Clearwater, Florida; Columbus, Indiana; and North Carolina.
Judges across the U.S. have been the target of threats and occasional violence in recent years. President Joe Biden last year signed a bill to give around-the-clock security protection to the families of Supreme Court justices after the leak of a draft court opinion overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion-rights decision, which prompted protests outside the homes of conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices.