More shooting details released


Police this week corrected accounts of a shootout that left a shotgun-wielding assailant and a security officer dead and a U.S. marshal wounded at a federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas more than two weeks ago.

Reports by authorities that assailant Johnny Lee Wicks was shot in the head in the Jan. 4 gunbattle were incorrect, police Sgt. Russell Shoemaker said Wednesday.

Wicks, 66, died after being shot "about" 18 times, Shoemaker said.

"Several injuries are still under review," Shoemaker said, adding that blood from other injuries might have made it appear that Wicks received a gunshot in the head.

Authorities including the Clark County sheriff, the FBI office chief in Las Vegas and the U.S. attorney for Nevada had said the day after the shooting that Wicks died of stomach and head wounds.

But Shoemaker and Special Agent Joseph Dickey, spokesman for the FBI office in Las Vegas, blamed confusion immediately after the shooting for the incorrect accounts.

The Clark County coroner has ruled Wicks' death a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds.

A fact-finding inquest is scheduled Feb. 19, Assistant Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Wednesday.

Shoemaker, who heads a homicide investigations team still preparing reports about the shooting, said Wednesday that he has reviewed security videotapes of the courthouse entry and plaza where much of the shooting occurred.

"The video shows everything," he said.

Shoemaker confirmed that Wicks fired five shotgun blasts, and that seven court security officers and U.S. marshals fired 81 shots repelling him from the downtown Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse and across Las Vegas Boulevard.

Slain court security guard Stanley Cooper, 72, never got off a shot before he was mortally wounded, Shoemaker said.

Richard Gardner, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service, was wounded in the incident.

Records show Wicks was a disgruntled plaintiff in a lawsuit against the government, and an ex-convict with a criminal record including prison time in the 1974 shotgun slaying of his brother in Memphis, Tenn.

 

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