JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Much of the Clark County community is in shock Wednesday after finding out two respected judges were shot.
It happened around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis, just two blocks away from Lucas Oil Stadium where the Colts play.
Clark County Judge Andrew Adams and Judge Bradley Jacobs were shot in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant while out of town at a conference. Police said the shooting happened during an argument.
A third judge was involved but was not hurt.
By Wednesday afternoon, the court systems within Clark County had shut down. Employees in the circuit court system waited anxiously for news, some with tears in their eyes.
For many, the news that two of the judges they see and work with every day had been shot hadn’t sunk in. Co-workers appeared shaken as they looked to one another for new information on the judges’ conditions.
Fellow Clark County Circuit Court Judge Vicki Carmichael was in Indianapolis with Jacobs and Adams for an educational conference. In a statement Wednesday, Carmichael said she was shocked to learn about the overnight violence that sent two of her colleagues to the hospital.
“For this to happen to them is a tragedy,” Jeremy Mull, Clark County Prosecutor, said.
As the prosecutor, Mull has worked with Adams and Jacobs for years.
The news they’d both been shot and seriously injured in Indianapolis came as a shock to Mull. As judges, he said, they take their role with the courts and the decisions they have to make very seriously. But they have a lighter side, too.
“They have great senses of humor when they don’t have their robes on and they’re not on the bench," Mull said. “They can be a lot of fun. They’re both very intelligent, like to laugh and cut up but when it comes to being judge, they’re both all business.”
Mull added: “They are tough men. They’re both marines. But they’ve both been seriously injured in the shooting. And so they do most certainly need the prayers of the community at this time, both them and their family.”
Nancy Woodworth-Hill, St. Paul’s Episcopal church rector and co-pastor, saw both judges regularly during weekly meetings at the church for Clark County CARES. The group works to provide help, resources and education to those dealing with addiction.
“Judge Adams always wears a bowtie, he’ll take a nice little ribbing about that. Both of them have a wonderful sense of humor. They’re people of great integrity, great care for the community," Woodworth-Hill said.
Woodworth-Hill said it was shocking two men so dedicated to improving the community and making it safer would find themselves in a violent situation. They worked every day toward helping others, she said.
“They are caring individuals and that’s what so impressed me about them,” Woodworth-Hill said. “I have great affection and respect for them, their integrity, for their desire for a community that is better than it is now, that is healthier, more whole. And they worked actively for that.”
St. Paul’s Episcopal opened its doors Wednesday night to anyone in the community who wanted to say a prayer for the judges and their families.
“It means more to me and my family than you could ever know,” Lauren Jacobs, the daughter of one of the judges, said, addressing those at the vigil.
As she took a deep breath, she said thanks, with tears in her eyes, to all those who lit candles in support of her and her father on one of the hardest days of her 18-year-old life.
“I believe in the power of prayer," Lauren said. "So, I know this has made a huge difference. My dad is in the hands of the great physician.”
She added: “Both my dad and Judge Adams make such a big impact in this community. We’re just holding onto our faith. Honestly, that is how we’re getting through this.”
The vigil was packed with friends of the victims, as well.
“Real tough guys, just good people," friend Donnie Croft said of the judges. "You couldn’t ask for two better gentlemen, two better anything, let alone judges. They’re fair, they’re honest and they’re just good people. This is just a hell of a situation that’s happened to them.”