The man who killed a court officer, wounded a US marshal, and died himself in a hail of police bullets in Las Vegas on Monday was no stranger to the criminal justice system. The most egregious of Johnny Wicks’ transgressions was a 1976 conviction for the murder of his own brother in Memphis, which put Wicks behind bars for five years. Wicks also pleaded no contest to charges of spousal abuse in 1995, and served time. There were robbery and attempted rape charges in the mix, too, though neither led to convictions, and the FBI is still digging into his history.
Wicks, who was irate over a reduction in his Social Security payments, set fire to his apartment Monday morning before he walked the 3 miles to the courthouse, with a shotgun under his black leather trench coat. Law enforcement officials mourned their fallen colleague yesterday, but expressed exasperation at the crime. “A lone gunman on a suicide mission cannot be prevented,” the Clark County Sheriff tells the Los Angeles Times.