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Colleagues salute one of their own

Colleagues and friends of Stan Cooper saluted his coffin as it passed by the very spot he died one week ago.

U.S. flags lining office buildings on Las Vegas Boulevard South were at half staff to honor Cooper, who was killed Jan. 4 at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in a shootout with Johnny Lee Wicks.

Wicks was upset about a cut in his social security benefits after he moved from California and was killed by deputy marshals and court security.

Cooper’s funeral was at the Central Christian Church Monday afternoon.

The funeral procession of nearly 75 Metropolitan Police officers on motorcycles and dozens more law enforcement personnel in cruisers and other vehicles moved up the street around 11:30 a.m. as about 200 people lined the boulevard outside of the courthouse to watch.

Matt Kisosondi worked and trained with Cooper for almost four years and stood on the steps of the Foley Federal Building to pay his respects to his friend, the same building Cooper raised his right hand in oath to become a court security officer on July 19, 1994.

"He was a nice guy," Kisosondi said. "He was a gentleman. He really was. He never said anything bad about people. He always talked about his family and his grandkids, his horses, you know, everything. He was a real family man.

"We used to sit and talk and tell stories. He never bragged. He’d only tell funny stories."

Kisosondi said losing a friend never gets any easier in his line of work.

"We’ve been through this before, but it’s always hard," he said. "It’s hard anytime someone loses their life or you lose someone you love. And this is one of those times."

Rusty Ellis, a senior U.S. probation officer specialist, said he would see Cooper occasionally as he brought people to and from the courthouse.

"You’d always get a smile from him," Ellis said. "It’s a sad day when you see one of your own" down.

Sgt. Lisa Cologna of the Regional Justice Center said she noticed a difference in the community and those who come into the courthouse after last week’s tragedy.

"Everyone seems to be very aware now of what’s going on," Cologna said. "It’s a sad afternoon. I hope some changes are made and that we’ll be getting the support needed."

Cologna added that people need to continue to be more alert to their surroundings in federal courthouses.

Contact Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

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