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Murders of prosecutors in U.S. called 'beyond rare'

By Terry Frieden, CNN
April 3, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • National District Attorneys Association: Only 13 killings in past 100 years
  • Two prosecutors were killed in one Texas county recently
  • Law Enforcement Memorial in D.C. has names of more than 19,000 officers

(CNN) -- The murders of two Texas prosecutors has raised concerns about the safety of others in those positions, but the slayings of prosecutors in the U.S. is "beyond rare," according to a leader of the nation's state and local prosecutors.

Scott Burns, executive director for the National District Attorneys Association, indicated Tuesday that there is no need for overreacting to the recent shooting.

Burns said the best available figures show that only 13 prosecutors have been killed in the line of duty in the past 100 years.

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A memorial in Columbia, South Carolina, erected to honor murdered prosecutors bears only 11 names, including just one federal official.

The names of the two state prosecutors slain in Kaufman County, Texas -- District Attorney Mike McLelland and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse -- will be added to the memorial at an appropriate time, the association said.

While no one discounts the potential danger to prosecutors, officials are seeking to maintain perspective.

The National District Attorneys Association has issued a statement to "remind all prosecutors to continue to be vigilant with respect to their personal safety and take appropriate steps should they receive any threats or cause for concern."

Similarly, the Justice Department took a low key approach.

"We always take the safety of Justice Department personnel extremely seriously and take appropriate steps when warranted," said Justice spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle.

In contrast to the handful of slain prosecutors in the nation, the count of sworn law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty continues to mount.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington now bears the names of more than 19,000 officers slain while on duty, according to memorial officials.

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