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Las Vegas police ID woman they say threw shoe at Hillary Clinton

If security guards had found a single soccer cleat inside a woman’s purse during screenings at a conference where Hillary Clinton was speaking Thursday, they might have been curious, if not suspicious.

That is, if security saw the purse, which they didn’t.

That’s because Alison Ernst, 36, slipped past the checkpoints on her way into the metal recycling conference at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police said Friday.

Ernst quickly made her way up the aisle until she was about 60 feet from the stage, pulled out the cleat and hurled it — overhand style, police specified — at Clinton.

Luckily for Clinton, it was a bad throw and didn’t hit her.

Ernst faces one count of disorderly conduct. She was booked and released from the Clark County Detention Center and is scheduled to head to court on June 24, according to the district attorney’s office.

Ernst, who hails from Phoenix, threw a black and orange Puma cleat at the former secretary of state, said Brian Spellacy, special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Las Vegas office.

Spellacy added that the federal investigation is ongoing.

The special agent could not confirm whether the woman arrested Thursday was the same Allison Michelle Ernst who in 2012 caused a scene at a court hearing for James Holmes, the man who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting. According to media reports, the woman at the Holmes hearing stood up and said she had evidence of judicial mis­conduct.

After being escorted from the courtroom, the woman identified herself to reporters as Ernst and said, “I tried to deliver information vital to the defense of James Holmes to the public defender.”

The shoe thrower Thursday also chucked a handful of papers, which fluttered down around her as she was confronted by security officers.

Secret Service agents led Ernst, whose arms were raised over her blonde bewigged head, out of the room and into custody. A police officer involved in the arrest said the woman “appeared to be in an agitated state but aware of what she had just done.”

An attendee handed a reporter a piece of paper that Ernst apparently threw. It appeared to be a copy of a confidential Department of Defense document dated August 1967, The Associated Press reported. It referred to operation “Cynthia” in Bolivia.

Clinton gracefully acknowledged the interruption by making jokes.

“My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial,” she said after it happened, referring to her lecture topic. “Thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did.”

Contact Annalise Porter at aporter@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0264. Contact Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe.

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