Within days of a Wichita shooting at a Kansas Department of Revenue office, the Wichita Eagle dragged out Democratic officials and a lobbyist to blame Gov. Sam Brownback for the tragic event.
Revenue officials were investigating Ricky Todd Wirths for owing approximately $400,000 in sales taxes for his construction business, when he walked into the Wichita office Tuesday. That morning, Wirths asked to see Cortney Holloway, a tax seizure agent, and then Wirths pulled out a gun and shot Holloway. Holloway was shot five times and was in serious condition on Wednesday.
While Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer sought prayers for the state employee injured in the course of doing his job, Democratic officials were on record in the Eagle blaming privatization and gun laws for Wirths’ actions.
Three years ago, the Wichita tax office moved from a state building to the private office space where the shooting occurred. Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat, said the shooting may not have happened had the office not moved. The lobbyist for the Kansas State Organization for Employees, a labor union, echoed Faust-Goudeau’s concerns.
“I’m mad about this shooting. I think this is ridiculous that we’re allowing guns on college campuses, but we’re requiring them and other city buildings to have metal detectors, but then we privatize and we’re allowing just an open house. It’s a madhouse,” she told the Eagle.
The Wichita revenue office space neighbors the department’s drivers’ licensing office, a place Faust-Goudeau said is a “zoo.”
“Anybody could walk in and out and do whatever they pleased,” she said about her recent visit to renew her license. “I didn’t not see one security person there that whole hour and a half I was there. It was chaotic. I definitely think that perhaps if we had security there or some other type of check in, that perhaps this shooting wouldn’t have occurred, or at least there would have been somebody else there to kind of handle things.”
The shooter was quickly identified and arrested within 30 minutes of the incident. How a sign-in sheet would have prevented the shooting is anyone’s guess.
The Brownback administration says it is reviewing agency-wide security procedures, “instead of engaging in speculation.”