Details continue to roll in about Johnny Lee Wicks, the shooter during yesterday’s gunfight at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas. Apparently Wicks set fire to his own house before heading to the courthouse. ABC News reports:
The senior citizen who is being blamed for a Las Vegas courthouse shooting that killed a security officer had set his condo on fire in a fit of rage before the attack.
Friends and family told ABC News that Johnny Lee Wicks, 66, was so upset that his monthly Social Security check was being reduced that he set fire to his home in a gated retirement community around 5 a.m. Monday.
Wicks had filed a racial discrimination suit against the Social Security Administration because his benefits were cut. The suit got tossed and, apparently, that is what set him off. Over on True/Slant, Michael Roston hopes that Wicks’s deranged understanding of race in America isn’t used by neocons as a polemic against tolerance:
Of course, I’m still trying to be hopeful that the fact that Wicks was a black man shooting at a federal building won’t also be worked into the kulturkampf by agents of conservative histrionics. Rush Limbaugh is taking a few days off after his brush with the medical system, so he won’t be going on air tomorrow to declare that crimes like this happen only in “Obama’s America.” If anyone else out there was thinking about saying something like that, please, don’t. Let’s just all be thankful that there weren’t any more senseless deaths from this tragedy today.
Hear, hear. Bullets don’t care about skin color. An Above the Law reader who works at the Lloyd George Courthouse provides an eyewitness account of the harrowing minutes during the shooting.
The story after the jump.
A reader who was working at the Courthouse yesterday sent us a report of what went down. Amazingly, the reader was able to get through all of this without needing a change of underwear:
I was leaving the parking lot when there was a crazy, and extremely scary, number of gun shots (probably 30 or so in five or so separate exchanges). I laid on the ground between cars and had no idea what was happening but was pretty sure there was some kind of gun battle going on — I was not going to check it out, though. I stayed on the ground for at least a few minutes after there were no more gunshots, and there was all kinds of yelling and sirens after. I wasn’t about to get up because there were some periods of quiet in between the earlier volleys. After a few minutes, I peeked out and there were officers everywhere — not just marshals, FBI, and CSOs, but local police and SWAT and, eventually even out-of-jurisdiction local cops (I saw at least four or five North Las Vegas cruisers). After about fifteen minutes, and after showing probably a half-dozen officers my ID, I was escorted to the auditorium of a nearby school to be interviewed along with maybe 75 or so other people. The courthouse was shut down for the day — they weren’t even letting judges in. The CSO who was killed was a very nice older man named Stan who was a typical CSO type — retired law enforcement, friendly in a somewhat cantankerous older person way. I don’t have any idea what I’m going to say to the CSOs when I come into work tomorrow morning.
Between this, the Christmas Day jackass, and Tiger Woods’s indiscriminate driver popping off all over the place, I’m seriously considering spending 2010 locked in my house with old mattresses covering the windows.
Stay safe everybody.
Vegas Court Shooter Johnny Lee Wicks Set Condo on Fire Before Attack [ABC News]
Las Vegas Federal Building shooter Johnny Lee Wicks upset about social security payments [True/Slant]
Earlier: Breaking: Shooting at Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas