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Judge Shot at Courthouse in Nevada

June 12, 2006

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A family court judge was shot as he stood near a third-floor courthouse window Monday, and police were searching nearby parking garages for a sniper.

Judge Chuck Weller was hit in the chest about 11:15 a.m. at the Mills B. Lane Justice Center, part of the Washoe County courthouse complex, police said. He was rushed by ambulance to Washoe Medical Center, Reno police spokesman Steve Frady said.

Police do not know if the shots were fired inside the courthouse or if they came from outside, Frady said.

A SWAT team was on the scene, and officers were conducting a floor-by-floor search of the courthouse as well as neighboring parking garages. Police also closed off several blocks around the courthouse, on the edge of Reno’s downtown casino district.

Weller, 53, a Reno lawyer, was elected to the bench in 2004, defeating former Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza.

Weller hosted a legal advice program on a Reno radio station from 1989 to 2002 and wrote a legal advice column in the Sunday Reno Gazette-Journal from 2000 to 2004. He once led opposition to a county bond issue to build a new county courthouse.

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Associated Press Writer Tom Gardner contributed to this report.

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