Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks (D) was arrested on Sunday after he threatened to assassinate newly elected Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D). Brooks was driving with a loaded gun when police took him into custody. The day before, he had told other lawmakers that Kirkpatrick’s “first day as speaker would be her last.”
According to his colleagues, Brooks was apparently upset that Kirkpatrick did not give him the chairmanship of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, growing more erratic and obsessive:
Instead, the chair job went to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton. One lawmaker said Brooks seemed agitated during a recent Interim Finance Committee meeting that Carlton chaired. “He kept getting up and down and walking in and out of the meeting,” said the lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He was acting a little strangely.”
About three weeks ago, Brooks began approaching other Assembly members, soliciting help in ousting Kirkpatrick as leader of the lower house, the lawmaker said. He didn’t get much support and “seemed to accept” that she would remain as leader, though Brooks remained troubled by his situation, the lawmaker said.
“He said, ‘She’s out to get me,’ ” the lawmaker said.
Nevada has some of the nation’s most lenient firearms laws — and one of the highest gun homicide rates. While North Las Vegas, where Brooks was arrested with his gun, has a city ordinance against carrying a deadly weapon in vehicles, Nevada gave itself the power to override all local regulation of firearms. As state law allows open carry in cars, Brooks would probably not be charged with a crime for carrying a loaded gun.
It was not clear if Brooks explicitly threatened to kill Kirkpatrick, and the assemblyman was only charged with making threats against a public official. He was released on Monday with a court date on January 28.