Anyone with a gun and a grudge can get into the state Department of Administration’s Hearings Division building without stepping through a metal detector or passing a guard.
That’s just what happened on Monday morning.
Leonard Sullivan, 73, walked into the building at 2200 S. Rancho Drive, near Sahara Avenue, and shot the lawyer he felt wronged him during a contentious workers’ compensation claim that began more than a decade earlier, police said.
Lawyer Jason Mills, who also works in workers’ compensation and is a friend of the victim, Michael Kogler, said the building is unsecured, unlike a typical courthouse. There are no metal detectors and only one security guard patrols the area, he said.
The armed guard, a private security officer, often patrols outside. His job isn’t to scrutinize the people entering the building. That’s not good enough, Mills said.
“You can’t figure out how to stop crazy, but you can secure a building,” Mills said.
Sullivan, 73, was arrested by Las Vegas police after being stopped by the security guard. Kogler was hospitalized and his condition was unknown Wednesday morning.
Mills said it’s fortunate that no one else was harmed.
Now Mills is asking Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office to review its security procedures. Although workers’ compensation is administrative law, that doesn’t mean the office’s clients aren’t impassioned.
And sometimes that passion leads to anger. Livelihoods are at stake during these cases, which are overseen by hearing masters. The anger can build as the cases are dragged out for years, Mills said.
“Literally two weeks before this shooting I had to call the police on a client of mine and warn opposing counsel because of a threat,” he said.
Monday’s shooting wasn’t unprecedented.
In 1993, Jim Forrester drove into the State Industrial Insurance System’s office building in Las Vegas and started firing a gun before being shot by a security officer. Forrester was frustrated with the handling of his claim after he injured his back at work and was sentenced to prison for seven years.
Mills wants metal detectors and more armed guards.
“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “Municipal Court, Family Court, they all have precautions. You can’t get guns into those buildings unless you’re really trying.”
A spokesman for Sandoval said in a Wednesday email that the governor is “committed to creating an environment where state employees can work with the confidence that they are safe while maintaining a responsive and accessible government for the public.”
The governor’s office also plans to meet with other entities, such as Homeland Security and the Department of Public Safety to review “existing protocol, employee workspace, and emergency planning.”
Mills said no additional security precautions were being taken at the building as of Wednesday morning.
Contact Mike Blasky at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter: @blasky.