Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Honoring Officers’ Actions During Las Vegas Courthouse Assault

Rep. Hank Johnson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 1061) honoring the heroic actions of Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper, Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner, the law enforcement officers of the United States Marshals Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and the Court Security Officers in responding to the armed assault at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse on January 4, 2010.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas, on January 4, 2010, during an assault at the entrance of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper was fatally wounded and died heroically in the line of duty while protecting the employees, occupants, and visitors of the courthouse; Whereas Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner was wounded in the line of duty while protecting the employees, occupants, and visitors of the courthouse; Whereas the Court Security Officers and members of the United States Marshals Service and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department acted swiftly and bravely to subdue the gunman and minimize risk and injury to the public; and Whereas the heroic actions of Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper, Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner, and the law enforcement officers who responded to the attack prevented additional harm to innocent bystanders: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) commends the brave actions and quick thinking exhibited by Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper during the assault at the entrance of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse; (2) offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper, who valiantly gave his life in the line of duty; (3) commends Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner for his actions and bravery in responding to the assault; (4) wishes Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner a speedy recovery from the wounds he sustained in the line of duty; and (5) applauds the Court Security Officers and members of the United States Marshals Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for their brave and courageous actions in responding to the assault at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

Rep. Hank Johnson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Georgia?

There was no objection.

Rep. Hank Johnson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution honors the heroic actions of Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper, Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner, the law enforcement officers of the United States Marshal Service and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, as well as the court security officers involved in responding to the armed assault at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past January 4, 2010.

On January 4, 2010, a man entered the lobby of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse, pulled a shotgun from underneath his jacket, and began firing indiscriminately from outside the security area where visitors pass through the metal detectors. Through a swift response, law enforcement officers were able to chase the gunman from the courthouse and ultimately subdue him.

Court security officers and members of the United States Marshal Service and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department acted bravely to subdue the gunman and minimize risk and injury to the public. Without regard for their own safety, they performed their duty and protected all who were present in the courthouse that day from the threat of deadly harm through their swift and effective response.

Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper was a 26-year veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and worked as a courthouse security officer since 1994. On January 4, 2010, Officer Cooper was fatally wounded and died heroically in the line of duty while protecting the employees, occupants, and visitors at the courthouse. Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner was wounded in the line of duty while protecting the employees, occupants, and visitors of the courthouse.

This slaying and wounding of these two officers is a sobering reminder, Mr. Speaker, that law enforcement officers put themselves in dangerous situations every day in order to protect and serve the citizens of our country. Through our recognition today of the exemplary actions of these officers, we are celebrating the nameless, unrecognized acts of bravery and service performed every day by our brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

By way of this resolution, the House of Representatives commends the brave actions and quick thinking of the court officers, the United States Marshals, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in responding to the assault at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse. It also extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Cooper, who valiantly gave his life in the line of duty. And it wishes Deputy Gardner a speedy recovery from the wounds that he sustained in the line of duty on that day.

All of these officers are heroes. We hope their families will take pride, and in the case of Officer Cooper, a small measure of consolation and comfort, in the knowledge that their actions were recognized by this body and they are celebrated today.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this important resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Ted Poe

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in total support of House Resolution 1061, honoring the heroic actions of Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper, Deputy United States Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner, the law enforcement officers of the United States Marshal Service, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and the court security officers in responding to an armed assault at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse.

On the morning of January 4, 2010, an armed gunman walked into the Las Vegas Courthouse and opened fire, fatally wounding Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper and seriously wounding Deputy United States Marshal J. ``Joe'' Gardner.

The valiant actions of these two men saved the lives of many people and innocent civilians in the courthouse. In a time of tragedy and crisis, Court Security Officer Cooper and Deputy United States Marshal Gardner responded immediately with selfless courage, placing the lives of others before their own.

Court Security Officer Cooper lived his life protecting the lives of other people. After 26 years of service with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, he retired to work at the Las Vegas Courthouse as a security officer. It was here that Officer Cooper died valiantly defending the halls of justice. For even after being fatally wounded, he continued to try to subdue the gunman, ultimately ensuring the safety of those that were in the courthouse that day. We join in the sorrow of his family and mourn the loss of this great individual. His legacy of a life dedicated to public service will not be forgotten.

In the moments that followed the fatal shooting, Deputy United States Marshal Joe Gardner and six other members of the United States Marshal Service, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and court security officers acted swiftly to subdue the gunman. Deputy United States Marshal Joe Gardner suffered gunshot wounds to his upper arm. We are grateful his life was not lost on that tragic day, and we honor his courageous actions as well.

The memory of that day serves as a haunting reminder of the dangers that our law enforcement officers face each day of their lives. In a split second, on a quiet Monday morning, it can turn into a battle between those who seek to harm innocent people and those who give their lives fighting to protect those same individuals.

Today, we honor Officer Cooper, Deputy United States Marshal Gardner, and law enforcement officers across this country. We remember the high price they pay for answering the call of duty, and they are on duty every day.

The tragic events that occurred on January 4, 2010 will be remembered by all of us. We will not forget the heroism and patriotism that was shown by Officer Cooper, Deputy U.S. Marshal Gardner, and the six other brave men and women.

I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Hank Johnson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, at this time, I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished representative from Nevada, Dina Titus.

Rep. Dina Titus

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 1061.

As you have heard, on January 4, 2010, an armed assailant with a history of violent behavior opened fire at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas. The brave security personnel at the courthouse, U.S. marshals, and other emergency responders acted quickly and valiantly to ensure the safety of courthouse staff, visitors, and other bystanders in the area. Tragically, however, Officer Stanley Cooper was fired upon by the gunman and later succumbed to his wounds.

Officer Cooper had previously served as a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer for 26 years and had been a security officer at the courthouse for 15 years. He was a familiar face, a friendly hello when you walked in the building, and a person who gave his all to the job of protecting others.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard J. ``Joe'' Gardner, a member of the U.S. Marshal Service for the past 24 years, was also there. He bravely chased after the suspect and was shot in the arm.

The courthouse, which is home to many Federal offices and courts, including the U.S. District Court of Nevada, stands for justice and liberty for all Americans and fairness for all who enter. The building opened in 2002 and was one of the first new Federal buildings to be constructed according to safety standards that went into effect after the tragic Oklahoma City bombing. Those safety standards, combined with the bravery of the courthouse security force, ensured that no citizens were injured, the shooter did not get past security checkpoints, the situation was resolved quickly, and all of the judges and people who work in the building or who were there visiting were safe.

I wish Deputy U.S. Marshal Gardner a speedy recovery, and I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Officer Stanley Cooper. Today, we honor their brave service to our community.

So I would urge you to join me, as my colleagues, in supporting this resolution, a companion of which has already been passed by our Senate colleagues.

Rep. Ted Poe

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Hank Johnson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I now yield such time as she may consume to the distinguished congresswoman from Nevada, Shelley Berkley.

Rep. Shelley Berkley

legislator photo

I appreciate the congressman's yielding.

I particularly want to thank my colleague from Nevada, Dina Titus, for introducing this resolution. I think it's very important to honor those in Las Vegas who have given so much to their country.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this resolution and the law enforcement personnel who put their lives at risk every day in order to protect their fellow Americans. Today, we honor two Nevadan heroes, Stanley Cooper and Joe Gardner, for their courageous actions while protecting the staff and visitors at the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas during an armed assault earlier this year. Officer Cooper was downed during this senseless act of violence and gave his life while bravely serving his country.

We should never forget the heroic sacrifice he made, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

U.S. Marshal Gardner thought quickly and acted bravely in responding to the armed assault, and I wish him a speedy recovery from the wounds he received in the line of duty.

I also commend the other court security officers, U.S. marshals and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for their quick and courageous responses to this attack and for protecting the public and preventing further loss of life.

This resolution honors these public servants' courageous actions and Officer Cooper's legacy of bravery and selflessness. This resolution serves as a tribute, not only to Officer Cooper and to U.S. Marshal Gardner, but to all public servants who put their lives on the line daily while serving their country. I encourage my colleagues to support this measure.

If I may take an additional minute, to those of our fellow citizens who are so frustrated with their government or who are so angry with life or with what is happening in this country or in their lives, there has to be a better way than this to express your anger and frustration.

In the aftermath of these tragedies, the government continues to function; Congress continues to meet; life goes on except for the lives of the perpetrators. More often than not, they are brought down by those who protect and defend the rest of us. Their families are destroyed, and they can't figure out why their loved ones reacted in this manner, and the misery they cause to their innocent fellow citizens, who are only doing their jobs, is beyond mention.

So I say to those who are angry and frustrated, do not do this. It creates misery in this country that has no place in the United States of America.

Again, I offer Officer Cooper's family my condolences and Officer Gardner a very speedy recovery.

Rep. Ted Poe

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I spent 30 years as a prosecutor and as a judge at the courthouse in Houston, all in the criminal courts building. I am very familiar with the individuals who work in the courthouse, who protect those who come to the seat of justice, to the bar of justice to seek grievances against our government.

Throughout those years, it became obvious to me that, in our country, the way we settle disputes is at the courthouse where we have two sides, sometimes more than two sides, who show up to argue their cases. Then there is a ruling by the judge on the law. Yet sometimes, as in this case, people show up at the courthouse and wish to take matters into their own hands in a violent manner.

We have folks at the courthouse who protect us, not just the lawyers and judges, but to protect those people who come to the courthouse to seek justice. Those people in our system are called the security officers, or bailiffs, as they are called in Texas.

More than once, unfortunately, I have had the unfortunate opportunity of having seen people disagree with what took place in the courthouse and of having seen them get out of control. Yet those security officers, those bailiffs, those deputy sheriffs were there to protect the seat of justice. These are examples of two of those. One was killed, and one was wounded in making sure that justice prevails in our justice system and that the law is not taken advantage of in a violent manner.

So we honor those individuals, not just these two but the others who helped from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of those court officers who work every day in every courthouse in the United States to make sure we have a secure and a safe justice system.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Hank Johnson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, January 4, 2010, was a Monday morning, the first Monday morning of the new year. This incident happened that morning.

Monday mornings are always very busy, if not the busiest times, at courthouses throughout America. People are coming in to litigate their disputes, to answer calendar calls, to answer trial calendars. There are witnesses who have been subpoenaed. There are jurors who have come to court, having been notified that they need to be there. There are courthouse workers.

Of course, you pass through security. It's just like we do here at the United States Capitol and in our legislative office buildings. We pass through security. Sometimes, when people are in a hurry, they get a little antsy, and they take that out on the security officials.

Though, I will tell you, despite all that was ongoing on that morning, Judge Poe, as you well know of these things that I just spoke of, on that day, a madman entered the courthouse and struck at a very soft part of security, which is when you walk right in the door and before you go through security. In the midst of all of that activity going on, he killed Officer Stanley Cooper, and he wounded Marshal Joe Gardner. Had it not been for their selfless and professional conduct at the time, there is no doubt that others could have lost their lives or could have been wounded as well.

So everywhere we have security checkpoints, the officers who man those checkpoints deserve our respect. They deserve our cooperation. They deserve our recognition as well for the fine jobs that they do. I want to take this opportunity to let all of those folks on the front lines know that we here in Congress, regardless of party affiliation, appreciate their service to us.

Lastly, we wish the family of Officer Cooper, as well as U.S. Deputy Marshal Joe Gardner and his family, the best in the future.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1061.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.