Maryland judge shot, killed outside Hagerstown home in targeted attack; manhunt for suspect underway

Authorities are searching for the suspected gunman they say shot and killed a Maryland circuit court judge in the driveway of his Hagerstown home.

Officials say 52-year-old Judge Andrew F. Wilkinson was killed Thursday night around 8 p.m. outside his home on Olde Waterford Road in the Clear Spring community. He was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds. He died a short time later.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is searching for 49-year-old Pedro Argote in connection with the killing. Officials released Argote’s photo Friday and describe him as 5-feet-7-inches-tall, 130 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes.

Deputies say he may be operating a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450, with Maryland registration plates 4EH0408.

Anyone with information about Argote’s whereabouts is asked to contact authorities at 240-313-2100.

Officials say the attack was targeted.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Sheriff Brian Albert said Judge Wilkinson’s wife and son were home at the time of the shooting.

The sheriff said that immediately after the shooting occurred, officers and troopers were placed at the homes of the local judges in Washington County as a precaution. They remained there overnight.

He also confirmed that Wilkinson adjudicated a divorce case earlier in the day Thursday involving the suspect, but Argote was not in attendance.

Wilkinson, citing cruelty of treatment and irreconcilable differences, gave full custody of their four young children to Argote’s ex-wife. She also got the house, and Argote was ordered to pay child support. 

FOX 5 talked to an attorney who initially represented Argote in the divorce proceedings, who says he was shocked to learn of these allegations, calling Argote a quiet, unassuming guy. Argote was a legally registered gun owner in Maryland. 

Deputies have responded to Argote’s residence for verbal domestic assaults twice in the last several years, according to officials. 

Wilkinson was an associate judge with the Washington County Circuit Court since 2020.

"It’s a tragedy. Unimaginable tragedy. Not just for our local community here, but really for our state. An attack on a public servant, particularly a judge is just unimaginable and horrific," said Maryland State Senator Paul Corderman. 

"Horrible news in Washington County tonight," posted state delegate Neil Parrott 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."

This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.

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Washington County Sheriffs Office released this photo of 49-year-old Pedro Argote who is wanted in connection with the killing Judge Andrew F. Wilkinson. Deputies say he may be operating a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450, with Maryland registration plates 4EH0408.