Vegas firefighter investigated for Facebook post about 'shooting' commissioner

The firefighter said she wanted to shoot Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak

By Scott Wyland and Alan Choate
The Las Vegas Review-Journal

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas firefighter's Facebook-posted declaration about wanting to shoot Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak prompted Mayor Oscar Goodman Thursday to vow for "justice."

Goodman, however, didn't say what penalty the city might mete out against firefighter Joy Sager, who described wanting "to shoot Sisolak in the (groin)" on a Web page that bashes local newspaper coverage of firefighters.

She later apologized to Sisolak.

Sager was responding to Sisolak criticizing firefighters for doing a muscular dystrophy fundraising drive while on duty.

"It's outrageous," Goodman said at a news conference. "When a fellow runs for office, or a lady runs for office, you don't have to deal with sickos who threaten you and make it personal."

If it's proven that a city employee made that threat, Goodman said, "I am going to get involved personally and see that justice is done."

Firefighters have been openly critical of Sisolak since he denounced their wages and benefits as too fat in dire economic times. He also has accused them of abusing overtime and sick leave.

Fire Department and city officials are deciding what disciplinary action to take against Sager. She was on duty Thursday and unavailable for comment.

A union leader said Sager expressed remorse for her rash statement.

Sager e-mailed a letter of apology Thursday to Sisolak and called his office but didn't hear back from the commissioner, said Dean Fletcher, head of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1285.

Sager, who is involved with the muscular dystrophy fundraiser known as a boot drive, feared that Sisolak's criticism could hurt the effort to help children, Fletcher said. Her Facebook remark was inappropriate but done in the heat of the moment, he said.

"I certainly don't condone it," Fletcher said. "She's a young woman firefighter with two stepchildren. She's a good person. She's not a criminal."

Sisolak said he read the apology and turned it over to the police.

"While I accept her apology, that doesn't make it right," he said.

In the letter, Sager states: "I wanted to let you know that my comments were spoken not out of malice but out of frustration. My comments were stupid and made without thinking."

However, she goes on to say that Sisolak's condemnation of county firefighters has led to open hostility against firefighters in every jurisdiction.

Fire engines have been egged and firefighters now fear for their personal safety, she wrote. "I am not trying to make excuses. I have embarrassed myself, my department, and my city and I am truly sorry for that."

Sisolak said he did not respond to the letter because he "didn't think it would be appropriate."

Aside from Sager's posting, he said he has received threatening phone calls and e-mail.

A message was posted on Facebook urging firefighters to make a show of force at a town hall meeting that Sisolak hosted for more than 500 Lake Las Vegas residents Thursday night, but there were no disruptions before, during or after the meeting.

A number of firefighters were in attendance, but none of them were in uniform and none spoke.

Sisolak said he declined an offer from Sheriff Doug Gillespie to have an officer escort him to Lake Las Vegas on Thursday night.

"I'm not going to be bullied," he said.

Sisolak said the threats would make him more outspoken.

"This is intimidation. It's the school bully taking the smaller kids' lunch money," he said. "They've been gaming the system, and it's got to stop."

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