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Community remembers Muskogee municipal judge after unexpected death

Muskogee Police Department spokesman Lincoln Anderson says Judge Bart Fite was found dead around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Fite was arrested April 15 after officers responded to a domestic abuse report and took a statement from a victim who showed physical signs of abuse. (Photo courtesy MuskogeeNOW)

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (KTUL) -- A community is in shock after the unexpected death of a city judge.

Muskogee police say Judge Bart Fite took his own life at his home last night.

Those in town say Fite was a nice man with a kind heart, and his death has left many in Muskogee at a loss for words.

"I don't know why anyone would feel like that's the only option," said resident Jill Smith.

Smith is just one of many in town remembering the judge who she says always delivered fair and honest rulings.

"My neighbor's son got a speeding ticket and he had to go in front of Judge Fite and he let him do community service which was write a paper instead of paying a fine," said Smith.

Police responded to Fite’s home around 10:30 Wednesday night to find the judge dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

His death comes just days after police arrested the 57-year-old for an alleged domestic violence complaint. According to the arrest affidavit, police took a statement from Fite’s wife who reportedly showed physical signs of abuse.

But all of this is a shock to people who knew Fite, like Roy Tucker.

"It will not be something that will be easy to get over," said City Attorney Roy Tucker.

Tucker worked with Fite for at least 10 years.

"He would exhibit his clever whit often times in court," said Tucker.

Tucker just hopes people will remember Fite as a great man and a great servant of the people.

"He was very well respected, not only by those who appeared in front of him but the legal community and citizens at large," said Tucker.

The city plans to appoint another judge to his position at a later date.

Police say the judge’s death is still under investigation.

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