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Las Vegas Courthouse Shooter was Upset Over Benefits Fight

January 05, 2010  | 

A man upset over losing a lawsuit regarding his Social Security benefits walked into the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas on Monday morning, pulled a shotgun from beneath his jacket, and opened fire, killing a court security officer.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press because they were not authorized to discuss the case, say Johnny Lee Wicks is the man who opened fire and was shot dead in a gunfight with deputy U.S. marshals. Officials say the early evidence points to the man's anger over his benefits case as the motive for the shooting.

Court records show Wicks, 66, had sued the Social Security Administration in 2008, but the case was thrown out and formally closed in September 2009. (Related story: Shooting ends gunman’s two-year battle over benefits)

FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey of the Las Vegas field office said investigators believe the gunman was acting alone when he fatally shot the officer and wounded a deputy U.S. marshal. Dickey said the shooting, which occurred about 8:05 a.m. at the courthouse at 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, didn't appear to be an act of terrorism.

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