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SALT LAKE CITY -- An armed man made his way into the Las Vegas Federal Courthouse Monday morning and opened fire, killing a 65-year-old court security officer, and wounding a 48-year-old US Marshal.
The deadly shooting drew attention to security at federal courthouses nationwide. Now Utah's own Sen. Bob Bennett says Salt Lake City's Frank E. Moss Courthouse needs a security face-lift.
"Federal buildings, unfortunately, have become targets for those who have grievances, whatever that may be," Bennett says.
The senator says he's seen security at federal buildings change drastically during his career, particularly after the Oklahoma City bombing. He believes Utah's federal courthouse, built in the early 1900s is outdated and vulnerable.
"One of the reasons why the Moss Courthouse needs to be significantly beefed up is security," Bennett says.He says security from the way prisoners are transported to the building's architecture and layout needs a re-vamp. Bennett serves on the U.S. Appropriations Committee, and in December he was able to push through more than $200 million in funding for a new Utah federal courthouse. He says security was the No. 1 priority when it came to planning the new building, in hopes of minimizing a potential attack like the one in Las Vegas.
"Our hearts go out to the families of those involved, and it's a wake-up call for how significant it is that we move forward on this," Bennett says.
Construction on the new federal courthouse is expected to being this spring and will likely take three full years to complete. It will be 10 stories high and span over 350,000 square feet.