Daily Archives: January 4, 2010

Breaking News: 2 Federal Agents Shot in Las Vegas Courthouse

Posted by Audiegrl


***UPDATE Sources say the gunman is 66-year-old Johnny Lee Wicks. He was apparently angry about a reduction in his social security benefits when he stormed into the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse and opened fire.

Read the Lawsuit filed by Johnny Wicks

Sixty-five-year-old Stanley Cooper, a court security officer, and an unnamed 48-year-old deputy U.S. Marshal were gunned down when Wicks opened fire in the lobby of the federal building in downtown Las Vegas around 8 a.m. Cooper is a retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sergeant. A motorcade made up of dozens of police officers escorted his body from University Medical Center to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said the shooting started in the main foyer and continued outside. The gunman was killed across the street from the federal building, which is located on Las Vegas Blvd. between Bridger and Bonneville Avenues. Seven U.S. Marshals and security officers were involved in the gunfire. Some witnesses say they heard between 50 to 100 shots fired.

Wicks filed a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration in early 2008. In a handwritten complaint, he said discrimination had followed him from California to Nevada. Wicks wrote this about one California agent, “Doesn’t try to hide the way he feels about black people so he reduced my benefits.”

Wicks explained he suffered a stroke some years back. He claimed his benefits dropped from $886 to $445 a month and then to $128 a month.

U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley reviewed the case and determined Wicks’ payments were reduced because Nevada, unlike California, does not provide a state supplement. When Wicks moved to Nevada he was no longer eligible for the supplement.

The case was ultimately dismissed in September of 2009.

Prior to Wicks’ arrival at the courthouse, investigators suspect he set his home on fire. He lived at Sunrise Senior Village on 30th Street in Las Vegas.


***UPDATE Marshals say they don’t know motive for shooting

***UPDATE U.S. Marshals Service Director John F. Clark said in a statement, “I can receive no news more grim or sobering than word of a line-of-duty death or injury to our U.S. Marshals personnel. … Rest assured, the brave and immediate actions of these two individuals saved lives by stopping the threat of a reckless and callous gunman who had no regard for who or how many victims were struck down by his senseless actions. They are heroes.”

***UPDATE 8 News Now has learned that the Deputy U.S. Marshal suffered buckshot wounds to his head and hand. At least five federal agents shot the gunman killing him. The gunman’s body is outside of the federal building. The court security officer is identified as being 65-year-old retired Metro Sgt.

***UPDATE (AP)~~Hospital official says a court officer in Las Vegas federal building shooting has died.

Suspected gunman is shot dead, FBI says

The Lloyd George Federal Building in Las Vegas

MSNBC—Two federal agents were shot Monday when a gunman opened fire in the lobby of a federal building in downtown Las Vegas, and the gunman was shot and killed, the FBI said.

We have two marshals down,” Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Roxanna Lea Irwin said after the shooting ended at about 8 a.m. local time.

The condition of the federal agents was not immediately known.

Police and other federal agents swarmed the multi-story building, and paramedics wheeled at least two people out and down a ramp to ambulances. There was no immediate word on the identity of the shooter.

Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the gunman had been shot in the head.

It looks like he went in there and just started unloading,” Morgan said.

The multi-story building houses federal courts and offices for federal officials including U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign.

Irwin said she saw shotgun casings on the floor of the lobby.

Two Shot at Las Vegas Courthouse

Police block off the area around the federal courthouse in Las Vegas on Monday.

CNN—Two people were shot Monday in the lobby of a federal courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, police said.

The shooting suspect was shot and killed, FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.

The incident occurred about 8 a.m., said Barbara Morgan, spokeswoman for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

The two victims were a deputy U.S. marshal and a court security officer, according to U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter.

Authorities were in the process of evacuating the building, Dickey said.

One person was dead at the scene, and two others were transported to University Medical Center in unknown condition, according to Tim Szymanski, spokesman for the Las Vegas Fire Department.

No one else was in the lobby at the time of the incident, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said.

This report will be updated as information becomes available.

On YouTube, a man who claimed to have a jury summons captured audio of the shots (contains graphic language):
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Special agent Joseph Dickey confirms that two federal agents were shot in Las Vegas Monday. One suspect was shot and killed, according to Dickey.

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Filed under Crime, Guns, Las Vegas, NV, Law, Police, Uncategorized, Violence

Houston Swears In First Openly Gay Mayor Annise Parker

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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The Political Carnival: Video- Kurtz and Panel Mock Limbaugh Saying He Didn’t Get Special Treatment

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President Obama Lifts HIV/Aids Immigration Ban

Posted by Audiegrl

The US has lifted a 22-year immigration ban which has stopped anyone with HIV/Aids from entering the country

BBC News—President Obama said the ban was not compatible with US plans to be a leader in the fight against the disease.

The new rules come into force on Monday and the US plans to host a bi-annual global HIV/Aids summit for the first time in 2012.

The ban was imposed at the height of a global panic about the disease at the end of the 1980s.

It put the US in a group of just 12 countries, also including Libya and Saudi Arabia, that excluded anyone suffering from HIV/Aids.

The BBC’s Charles Scanlon, in Miami, says that improving treatments and evolving public perceptions have helped to bring about the change.

Rachel Tiven, head of the campaign group Immigration Equality, told the BBC that the step was long overdue.

President Barack Obama announced his plan to lift the ban while signing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009

The 2012 World Aids Conference, due to be held in the United States, was in jeopardy as a result of the restrictions. It’s now likely to go ahead as planned,” she said.

In October, President Obama said the entry ban had been “rooted in fear rather than fact”.

He said: “We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the Aids pandemic – yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people with HIV from entering our own country.”

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Go, Tell Michelle: You’ve Read the Book, Now See the Play

Posted by Audiegrl

“When you and your family go to the spot under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, where Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, you will take with you our history of dreams deferred; however, you will also take with you our prayers and hopes for an America that is ready to build and dream anew.”~~Excerpt from a letter to Michelle Obama

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady was first published in January 2009. In December 2009, “Go, Tell Michelle” was named by book and movie critic Kam Williams as one of the 10 Best Black Books of 2009. My daughter gave this to me as my Mother’s Day present last year, and I highly recommend it. I thought it would be a great way to start off the new year (and new decade), to introduce the book to those who have not read it yet, and also give me a chance to provide a photo slideshow of our First Lady during the first year.

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First LadyGo, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady”, the award winning volume of 100 letters to Michelle Obama written shortly after the 2008 election of President Barack Obama has been adapted as a dramatic production. Drs. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram, co-authors and editors of the book, have been working with Dr. Robert Knopf, chair of University at Buffalo’s Drama Department on this dramatization. The outcome of this collaboration is Dr. Knopf’s adaptation, a one hour play that features three readers.

Dr. Knopf describes “Go, Tell Michelle: the Play” as more than a dramatic reading: “It is a montage of lost voices, personal stories, and heartfelt emotions unleashed by the tide of history that has swept the nation.” Under Dr. Knopf’s direction, storyteller Karima Amin, Brooks-Bertram and Seals Nevergold will give voice to the stories and poems in this dramatic adaptation.

The play will debut on January 19th at University at Buffalo’s Allen Hall on the South Campus on the eve of the first anniversary of President Obama’s historic inauguration. Performance time is 7:00pm and Jericka Duncan, reporter from WIVB-TV will act as Emcee. A second performance will take place at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library on January 20th. Both performances will be free and open to the public.

The Warmth, Style, and Grace of First Lady Michelle Obama

This is the short biography of Michelle Obama that introduced the Obama family to families across America. It originally played the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

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Drs. Barbara Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram on C-SPAN Book TV (03/28/09)

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