Gunman, Guard Die in Vegas Shooting
A man in a dispute with the Social Security Administration opened fire with a shotgun in a downtown Las Vegas federal building Monday, killing a security guard and wounding a U.S. marshal.
Two law enforcement officials told the Associated Press the gunman was Johnny Lee Wicks, 66, who was killed in a gunbattle by marshals who chased him across Las Vegas Boulevard. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the case.
Wicks filed a benefits complaint in April 2008 against the Social Security Administration but lost his claim in September, court documents say.
"We don't believe it's terrorist-related at all. It looks like a lone criminal act," FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.
The gunman fatally shot Stanley Cooper, a retired Las Vegas police officer who served 26 years on the force before becoming a court security officer in 1994, U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter said. U.S. Marshals did not release the name of the wounded marshal, who was being treated at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
The shooting occurred as threats against judges, prosecutors and other federal officials are at a six-year high. A report issued Monday by the Justice Department's inspector general found the number of threats rose to 1,278 in 2009 from 592 in 2003. It concludes that many of those threats were not promptly reported to the Marshals Service.
The gunman, dressed in black with a shotgun tucked into his jacket, entered the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building about 8 a.m., Dickey said.
The building houses federal courtrooms, district offices for the state's two senators, the U.S. Attorney's office and numerous federal agencies, Dickey said. "That's a very busy building on a Monday morning," he said.
The shooter pulled a gun and shot at the marshals and security guards at the metal detector, Dickey said. "A gunbattle ensued," he said. The gunman crossed the downtown plaza and Las Vegas Boulevard, Dickey said, before he was shot and killed.
"I could see guards and everything coming out, and then all of a sudden I just started hearing pop, pop, pop. I mean, just like 30 or 40 shots," Troy Saccal, a tax services manager arriving for work at the time, told the Associated Press.