Fatal Shooting in Las Vegas

Federal official, suspect die in shooting

Published: Jan. 4, 2010 at 8:10 PM

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4 (UPI) — The gunman who killed an officer at a U.S. court building in Las Vegas Monday was upset by cuts in his Social Security payments, a law enforcement source said.

Citing the source, the Las Vegas Review-Journal identified the gunman — who was killed in the shooting at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse — as Johnny Lee Wicks, who had filed a federal race discrimination suit in 2008 against a regional Social Security Administration official.

"It looks like he went in there and just started unloading," Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said.

Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Roxanna Lea Irwin said investigators believe the gunman acted alone, the newspaper reported.

Hospital officials confirmed the court officer died at the hospital. A second officer wounded in the incident was reported in serious condition at University Medical Center but his injuries were not life threatening, the newspaper said.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said the suspect — who has not been officially identified — died across the street from the scene of the shooting. Morgan said Wicks had been shot in the head.

The courthouse was evacuated and police cordoned off several blocks surrounding the scene.

Jon McGovern, who operates a hot dog stand outside the courthouse, told the Review-Journal he was setting up his stand when he heard two or three rapid-sounding "pops" followed by other, more cyclic sounds.

"It sounded like a fireworks show," McGovern said.

Offices for both U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign are inside the federal building. Neither senator was in the building this morning, aides said.

Aides for the senators said 15 people work in Reid’s office, and 10 employees work for Ensign, the newspaper said.

"All are physically OK," Reid spokesman Jon Summers said of the senators’ staffs.

"My thoughts are with the victims of today’s shooting and their families," Reid said in a statement. "The law enforcement personnel who protect the courthouse put their lives at risk every day to keep the people who are inside safe and I greatly appreciate their service."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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