Three judges were killed and three people were injured Tuesday in a Chinese courthouse by a security officer at a local bank. The shooter, Zhu Jun, was the head of security at a local Postal Savings Bank in Hunan province and is alleged to have been upset over the division of marital assets [Xinhua report] by the Lingling District People's Court in his divorce three years prior. The judges who were killed were not involved in the divorce. Zhu entered the courthouse just after ten in the morning with an automatic weapon and two pistols, opening fire as he did so. Private gun ownership is illegal [WSJ report] in China, but Zhu confiscated the weapons from subordinates, claiming they were to be inspected by superiors. Three of his subordinates are being investigated for dereliction of duty [Shanghai Daily report] in relation to the incident. The shooting comes on the tail of a series of school attacks [Economist report], in which lone men entered grade schools wielding knives and other weapons, attacking school children. The series of incidents, which officials have said are unrelated, have left dozens of children dead and scores more injured.
Judges have also been victims of violent attacks in other countries. In April, a Moscow City Court [official website] judge known for presiding over cases involving neo-Nazi groups was killed [JURIST report] while leaving his apartment. The murder of Judge Eduard Chuvashov was suspected to be a contract killing in light of the death threats he faced after presiding over the trials of members of neo-Nazi gangs. In November, a Somali judge known for jailing suspected pirates [JURIST news archive], human traffickers, and Islamist insurgents was shot dead [JURIST report] while leaving a mosque in the Puntland city of Bossaso. Judge Mohamed Abdi Aware of the Puntland high court and the Puntland Supreme Judicial Council, had recently jailed four members of the al-Shabaab Islamist group and had sentenced 12 suspected pirates to terms ranging from three to eight years. Last June, Aza Gazgireyeva, deputy head of the Supreme Court in Russia's Ingushetia province [official website, in Russian; BBC backgrounder] was gunned down [JURIST report] while taking her children to school in the town of Nazran. It is believed that Gazgireyeva may have been killed for her role in investigating an attack on Ingush police forces by Chechen militants in 2004.