HAGERSTOWN, Md. (TCD) -- Law enforcement officials are searching for a man they allege shot and killed a circuit court judge the same day he awarded custody of the couple’s four minor children to the suspect’s estranged wife.
According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday, Oct. 19, at approximately 8 p.m., deputies were called to the 19100 block of Olde Waterford Road regarding a shooting. When they arrived, they found an adult male in the driveway suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Medics took him to Meritus Medical Center, where he died from his wounds.
The Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 52-year-old Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson.
In an updated news release, the Sheriff’s Office named the suspect as 49-year-old Pedro Argote. He is believed to be traveling in a 2009 Mercedes GL450.
Sheriff Brian Albert held a press conference Friday, Oct. 20, and said Wilkinson was presiding over Argote’s divorce trial. According to The Associated Press, Argote reportedly did not show up to court Thursday when Wilkinson granted sole custody of their kids to Argote’s wife. The children are 12, 11, 5, and 3 years old.
Albert said Argote legally owned the gun used in the shooting. He reportedly does not have a criminal record in Washington County, but law enforcement had previously responded to two verbal and domestic calls over the last two years.
Albert does not believe there are any threats to other local and state judges in the area.
According to his judiciary bio, Wilkinson was sworn in as a circuit court judge Jan. 10, 2020. Prior to that, he worked as an assistant Washington County attorney. He attended the University of North Carolina as an undergraduate and Emory University for law school.
Maryland State Bar President Jason Deloach said in a statement Wilkinson "will be remembered for his immense contributions to his local community and his unwavering pursuit of justice. Marylanders lost a dedicated public servant, and we offer our most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues."