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Colorado Murder Resonates With Local Public Officials

KUOW Photo / Sara Lerner

The executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections was shot dead after answering the doorbell at his home Tuesday night. So far no one has been arrested  in the death of Tom Clements.

The case is reminiscent of an attack that took place just six months ago on Thurston County District Court Judge Michael "Brett" Buckley. Buckley was at home when he answered a knock at the door.

When he opened it someone threw acid in his face.

Today Buckley says he realized how lucky he was that night. "If this person wanted to kill me, he could have very easily, because I was two to three feet from him. If he had a little handgun he could have just shot me and walked away."

Buckley bears no scars from the attack. He showered soon after realizing the liquid wasn’t water. 

No one has been arrested in the case.

Sometimes attacks on public officials make headlines, as when federal prosecutor Tom Wales was shot and killed while working in his Queen Anne home in 2001. 

Sometimes they're behind the scenes.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe has said in the past, he has moved his family to a hotel because of death threats. And the Washington State Department of Corrections says in the past year there have been 50 documented threats against community corrections staff, and several dozen against others who work for the department.

Buckley remains somewhat uneasy. He looks over his shoulder more. His family may move, "because the location of my home has been widespread though the media as a result of this," he said. But he says he doesn't blame media outlets for the fact that his attacker got his address. "It was easily accessible through an Internet search, which is my guess how this person ended up on my porch in the first place.”

Buckley has some advice for public officials: Remove your name from your property records, even if it means giving it to someone else.

Help Patricia Murphy follow up on this story.