CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Local law enforcement officials are no strangers to death threats, but a recent string of killings across the country, including the shooting of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum on Wednesday, left many feeling shaken.
Kim Aaron, a longtime Kanawha magistrate, said through tears that she doesn't feel safe.
"He was my friend," she said. "Just a great, great person. We lost one of the good guys today.
"Unbelievable. Just unbelievable."
She had heard of the shootings and attacks on public officials around the country -- like the murder of Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, over the weekend.
But she said the most recent act struck too close to home.
"Nobody's safe," she said. "None of us. I think every public official ought to take a long, hard look at their safety."
Rudi Raynes Kidder, executive director of the West Virginia Sheriff's Association, said members were stunned and devastated.
"It's a pretty sad state of the world when someone can walk up and shoot the sheriff," Kidder said. "We're praying for his family and everyone at the scene, and everyone who wears a uniform.
"It's unthinkable, especially him being a newly elected, first-term sheriff. You put on that uniform you think you're untouchable."
Kanawha Prosecutor Mark Plants expressed disbelief.
"I'm just very saddened," he said of what appeared to be a targeted attack. "It's a tragedy. This kicks things up a notch.
"We have some great law enforcement officers," he said. "Unfortunately we have some very dangerous people out there as well."
Death threats often come with the job of prosecutor, he said.
"I've had numerous death threats against myself and other prosecutors in my office," he said. "And I tell them what we would tell any citizen -- vigilantly protect yourself and your family.