WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) – A Maryland circuit court judge was fatally shot at his home Thursday night, and a picture of a person wanted in connection with the killing has been released, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Police said deputies responded to a Hagerstown residence at around 8:00 p.m. Thursday after reports of a shooting.
Deputies found Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, 52, in the driveway of his home with apparent gunshot wounds. He was taken to a local hospital where he died.
On Friday, the sheriff’s office said the person believed to be involved in the deadly shooting was Pedro Argote, 49, of Frederick, Maryland.
The description of Argote that accompanied the release of his picture indicated he stands at 5 feet, 7 inches, and weighs 130 pounds. Argote has black hair and brown eyes. He may be driving a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450 with Maryland plate 4EH0408.
The online court system for the Washington County Circuit Court showed that Argote had a divorce case before Wilkinson and that a hearing related to the case took place earlier in the day on Thursday.
At a news conference Friday morning, Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert said Wilkinson gave custody of Argote’s children to the Argote’s wife. Argote, himself, was not at the hearing Thursday.
The Maryland Judiciary released a statement about Wilkinson’s death:
The Maryland Judiciary mourns the tragic death of Judge Andrew Wilkinson. As we grieve his loss, we ask that you keep the Wilkinson family in your prayers and please respect their privacy. The Maryland Judiciary is actively engaging with law enforcement to assist in resolving this matter and to ensure the safety of our judges, staff, and visitors, which remains our top priority.
State troopers were deployed overnight as a precaution to protect judges who live in Washington County, state police spokesperson Elena Russo said.
Wilkinson was sworn in as a circuit court judge in 2020. The 1994 University of North Carolina graduate received his law degree from Emory University School of Law in 1997 and then became a circuit court law clerk in Washington County.
In Maryland, circuit courts in each county handle serious criminal and civil cases, including many that are appealed from the lower-level district courts, according to the state courts website.
Hagerstown, a city of nearly 44,000, is located about 75 miles northwest of Baltimore near the state lines of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.