Man allegedly guns down judge who oversaw his divorce proceedings, manhunt ongoing: Sheriff

Maryland authorities said they’re searching for a man who allegedly targeted and gunned down the judge who oversaw his divorce proceedings.

Pedro Argote, 49, allegedly shot Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, 52, in the judge’s driveway in Hagerstown, Maryland, Thursday night while the victim’s wife and son were home, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Wilkinson was presiding over Argote’s divorce proceedings, Sheriff Brian Albert said at a news conference Friday. Argote’s ex was granted custody at a hearing earlier in the day Thursday, which is believed to be the motive for the shooting, Albert said.

Argote did not attend Thursday’s hearing, the sheriff said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland has confirmed that Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, 52, was fatally shot on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.

Washington County Bar Association

Argote should be considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff said.

Argote may be driving a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450 with Maryland plates 4EH0408, authorities said. The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information on his whereabouts to call police immediately.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement that he’s “shocked, heartbroken, and sickened” by the shooting, calling it a “cold-blooded, vicious, and targeted attack.”

“Judge Wilkinson spent his career in defense of justice,” Moore said in a statement. “We must now ensure that the perpetrator of this vile act faces justice and Judge Wilkinson’s family gets the support they need and deserve.”

“My heart goes out to Judge Wilkinson’s family, and my prayers are with everyone who knew him, loved him, and served alongside him,” the governor said.

Wilkinson served in Washington County’s 4th Judicial Circuit since Jan. 10, 2020, according to his court biography.

State Delegate Neil Parrott said on X, formerly known as Twitter, “It appears that Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot multiple times and has passed away. Police are actively searching for the murderer. Please pray for our police and for Judge Wilkinson’s family at this time.”

ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson contributed to this report.

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