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October 21, 2014

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Not forgotten’: Downtown street to be named after slain courthouse guard

Image

Steve Marcus

A truck carries the casket with slain court security officer Stanley Cooper in a procession past the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse Monday, Jan. 11, 2010.

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What: The U.S. Marshals Service and Las Vegas Councilman Bob Coffin are hosting a street-renaming ceremony. Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Coffin, representatives of the U.S. Marshals and the federal courthouse are scheduled to speak.

When: 11 a.m. Thursday

Where: Sixth Street and Chef Andre Rochat Place

Stanley Cooper Funeral Procession

A motorcade of police motorcycles and vehicles escort the body of court security officer Stanley Cooper down the Las Vegas Strip Monday during the funeral procession. 
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Stanley Cooper's Family Photos

A photo of the family of Stanley Cooper, the 72-year-old court security officer who died on Monday after being shot at the federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »
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Stanley Cooper

To most people, Chef Andre Rochat Place is just another stretch of asphalt lost in the interlocking grid of roads that form downtown Las Vegas.

But at 11 a.m. Thursday, the single-block street outside the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse will take on a new purpose. It will be renamed Stanley W. Cooper Place, after the court security officer who died as a hero after a shooting inside the courthouse in 2010. For his son Marshall Cooper, his family and many of the workers inside the courthouse — the street will become a place to remember.

“It actually brings tears to my eyes,” Cooper said. “It’s huge. It’s a great honor for me and I’m sure my family. … It’s awesome.”

Stan Cooper, 72, was scanning IDs on Jan. 4, 2010, when Johnny Lee Wicks — upset after losing a lawsuit over his Social Security benefits — pulled out a gun and shot him in the chest. Marshall Cooper said his father — with shotgun pellets lodged in his chest — still managed to stand and push a woman to safety before falling to the ground. Thanks to the efforts of Cooper and his fellow officers, the gunman never made it past security.

“He saved so many lives that day,” Cooper said. “It’s really cool he’s still recognized and not forgotten.”

Every day for the past two years, Cooper has thought about his father. His father worked at the federal building for 16 years. He took the job after growing restless during his retirement as a Metro Police officer — a job he held for 26 years.

Marshall Cooper said his father loved his job. He often got co-workers together to collect money for coffee and lottery tickets, which he purchased in California once a month. He was also fond of telling Marshall Cooper and his siblings that he’d retire “next year,” but in reality, it was never in his plans.

“We’d tell him to take a cruise or do something,” Cooper said. “But the last few months before he was killed, he said (to his co-workers), ‘I am never going to retire … I’m going to go out with my boots on.’ … You couldn’t keep him down.”

Cooper said people have continued to ensure his father’s legacy lives on. The U.S. Marshals Service awarded his father a Purple Heart, and a rotunda has been named after him in the federal courthouse complete with a plaque about his efforts that day.

Cooper still has several items his father had on him that day. He kept his father’s sunglasses, his school ring, and the Marshals badge he always wore. He and his family also wear silver bracelets commemorating his father. If there is one thing Cooper wants, it’s that his father’s legacy is always remembered.

On Thursday morning, he will get his wish. The tiny, weatherworn road will become the place where people never forget Stanley W. Cooper.

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  1. A class act in every respect!

  2. "Stan Cooper, 72, was scanning IDs on Jan. 4, 2010, when Johnny Lee Wicks -- upset after losing a lawsuit over his Social Security benefits -- pulled out a gun and shot him in the chest."

    Nordli -- you're being simplistic here. As I recall from one of the original articles, Wicks was upset over the way the judge so casually brushed aside his suit based on a procedural technicality. Considering how judges are allowed to sign anything without any consequences whatsoever, I'm surprised more of this isn't happening.

    "The Federal Rules reject the approach that pleading is a game of skill in which one misstep by counsel may be decisive to the outcome and accept the principle that the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits." -- Conley et al. v. Gibson et al., 355 U.S. 41, 48 (1957)

  3. This is great. A tribute to a devoted civil servant until the very end.