Police in Maryland launch manhunt for Pedro Argote after a judge was gunned down in his driveway, hours after custody battle ruling
Argote, 49, is suspected of shooting Wilkinson, a circuit court judge in Maryland on Thursday night
Wilkinson, 52, an associate circuit court judge in Washington County, was found in the driveway of his Hagerstown home around 8 p.m., Thursday
Argote fled the scene driving driving a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450 with Maryland tags
Police said the suspect though not in court earlier in the day, was party to a divorce case where the judge ruled that the father can have no visitation or contact with his children or wife
Argote remains at large and the public have been warned not to approach him
Murder suspect Pedro Argote, 49, [photo], who allegedly shot Washington County judge circuit court judge, Andrew Wilkinson in his own driveway Thursday night is on the run, armed and dangerous, Washington County Sheriff’s Office has announced
Maryland police have launched an urgent manhunt for a suspect linked to the fatal shooting of a 52-year-old Maryland circuit court judge, Andrew Wilkinson.
Washington County deputies responding to reports of shot fired found an injured Wilkinson in the driveway of his home on Olde Waterford Road in the western Maryland city of Hagerstown on Thursday night.
Investigators said the suspect was a man who was party to a case before Wilkinson in divorce court earlier in the day. Apparently dissatisfied with the divorce ruling, Pedro Argote, 49, allegedly gunned down the associate circuit court judge in the driveway of his west Maryland home at around 8pm on Thursday night.
Described as 5’7, 130lbs with black hair and brown eyes, and may be driving a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450, displaying Maryland registration plates 4EH0408, Argote remains at large, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office warned the public not to approach him and to contact law enforcement if they have any information as to his whereabouts.
Judge Andrew Wilkinson [photo], was shot dead in the driveway of his home in Hagerstown, MD, on Thursday evening. His wife and son were both inside their home in Hagerstown at the time of the shooting
According to the court documents Argote was party to a divorce hearing presided over by Wilkinson earlier in the day of the shooting, where Wilkinson ruled that the father can have no visitation or contact with his children or wife.
At a press conference Friday, Sheriff Albert said that Wilkinson’s wife and son were both inside their home in Hagerstown at the time of the shooting.
Judge Wilkinson who also served as a member of the State Board of Law Examiners’ Character Committee from 2006 to 2019, was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds, but later succumbed to his injuries.
Wilkinson seen alongside his wife Stephanie at his swearing in ceremony on January 10, 2020, has since served as an associate circuit court judge in Washington County
Born in Guam in 1971, Wilkinson previously served as an assistant county attorney in Washington County from 2006 to 2012, and served as an associate circuit court judge in Washington County since 2020.
Albert said that Argote does not hold any criminal record, and was not in attendance at the divorce hearing earlier in the day.
According to sheriff Albert, Argote does not hold any criminal record, and was not in attendance at the divorce hearing earlier in the day. However, officials said that the case is believed to have motivated the shooting.
Deputies had responded to Argote’s home twice for reports of verbal domestic assault over the past two years, Sheriff Albert said.
The judgment also granted Argote’s ex-wife “sole use and possession of the family home” and barred the husband from entering the property. Furthermore, he has been ordered to pay wife Eugenia child support of $1,120 a month for their four minor children, according to the court document.
Argote is described as 5 feet 7 and 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He may be driving a silver 2009 Mercedes with Maryland plates.
Details over the firearm were not disclosed, but Albert said that it was legally obtained.
Judge Andrew Wilkinson was gunned down in his driveway in Hagerstown, Washington County around 8pm Thursday. The shooter Pedro Argote who is still at large, is believed to be driving, a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450, with the Maryland registration plates 4EH0408
His profile on the court’s website also highlighted his work as a Little League baseball and youth soccer coach, while being active in his local church.
‘We are a courthouse of six judges,’ Administrative Judge Brett R. Wilson, a colleague, told the New York Times. ‘We all know each other very well.’
Maryland State Troopers were dispatched to the homes of other judges in the area and remained until Friday morning, which Albert said was taken ‘as a precaution’ and there is no known threat to Maryland judicial officials.
According to the sheriff’s office, Argote was not in attendance at the divorce hearing earlier in the day where the custody ruling went against the father. However, cops believe that ruling motivated the shooting of the judge
In a statement after the shooting, Maryland Judiciary said Wilkinson’s death was a ‘tragic loss.’
‘As we grieve his loss, we ask that you keep the Wilkinson family in your prayers and please respect their privacy,’ the statement read.
‘The Maryland Judiciary is actively engaging with law enforcement to assist in resolving this matter and to ensure the safety of our judges, staff, and visitors, which remains our top priority.’
Tributes have poured in for the judge following his passing, with US Senator Ben Cardin offering ‘condolences to Judge Wilkinson’s family, friends and all those touched by his public service.’