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Eyewitnesses Describe Vegas Shooting, 'At Least 40 Shots'

The AP via YellowBrix

January 05, 2010

LAS VEGAS – A man dressed in black opened fire with a shotgun at a federal building yesterday in downtown Las Vegas, killing a court security guard and wounding a U.S. marshal before he was shot to death in a running gunbattle across the street.

The gunfire erupted moments after 8 a.m. at the start of the work week and lasted for several minutes. Shots echoed around tall buildings in the area, more than a kilometre north of the Las Vegas Strip.

A passerby said he counted at least 40 shots.

“The first shot that I heard was a shotgun blast. I knew it wasn’t fireworks,” said Ray Freres, 59, a sandwich shop manager and Vietnam veteran who said he was behind the court building at the time.

“I heard an exchange of gunfire. I was watching the street,” Freres said. “If they were coming my way, I was going the other way.”

Related: Raw Video of the Shootout >>>

The U.S. Marshals Service said the victims included a 48-year-old deputy U.S. marshal who was hospitalized and a 65-year-old court security officer who died.

The dead guard was Stanley Cooper, a retired Las Vegas police officer employed by Akal Security.

Two law enforcement officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said the gunman, 66-year-old Johnny Lee Wicks, was upset over losing a lawsuit over his Social Security benefits.

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., told reporters it appeared the shooting was not a terrorist act.

“Bottom line is, he didn’t get past security,” Ensign told a news conference outside the building.

Wicks opened fire in front of a set of security metal detectors just inside the rotunda of the federal building, FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.

“From what witness accounts have said, he walked in with a shotgun underneath his jacket and opened fire when he opened the doors,” Dickey said. “Seven officers responded and returned fire.”

A YouTube video recorded the sound of the running firefight as Wicks retreated across Las Vegas Blvd. toward another federal building and a school.

“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,” said Troy Saccal, a tax services manager who was arriving for work at the time.

Saccal said he thought he saw one guard slump to the ground and another move to help him.

The gunman died moments later in the bushes outside school, where his body remained for several hours.

A Las Vegas police spokesman said he had been shot in the head.

Video of the Incident >>>

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  • Tigerstripe_002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Hmm, the guy who shot the video. Did he just J-walk? The crosswalk said Green to walk towards the courthouse. The lanes he walked across had a green traffic light.. Opsie

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    R.I.P. to the fallen officer, god be with their family and all other officers!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Bklyn ~ The gunman walked in and open fired killing one officer and injuring another in which point he left the building. For every officer that walked out of that building from that point entered the tunnel of death. With as many gunshots that went off, and all the innocent bystanders Vegas is lucky that this awful tragedy ended with only 2 deaths and 1 injury. May all you Officers, Marshals, Agents, Detectives, etc. be safe always!!

  • Native_clip_art_4_049_max50


    over 4 years ago


    With idiotic comments from senators like this, no wonder were in trouble in more ways than one

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I guess Senator Ensign is not smarter than a fifth grader. And he's far from being alone!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Second stupidest comment of the year is from the Senator from Nev... "“Bottom line is, he didn’t get past security,” Ensign told a news conference outside the building." One dead, One seriously injured... how do we know the gunman even wanted past security? One dead is one too many...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    bklyn- Are you serious? Jump on a man armed with a shotgun who has already tried to shot officers?? I believe that is the stupidest comment I've heard yet this year, and I work in a job where I hear alot of those.

    May God be with the fallen, and their families.

  • Picture_204_max50


    over 4 years ago


    i'm sure it happened all too quick, but was there someone there that could have jumped on the shooter ? oh yeah , no-one wants to get involved. off to a bad year already w/ LEO deaths.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Justice has been served for the fallen officers.

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