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Expelled Nevada lawmaker arrested in Barstow after high-speed chase

March 29, 2013|By John Glionna
  • This photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks after a Feb. 10 arrest on charges that he physically attacked a family member and grabbed for a police officer's weapon.
This photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows… (Associated Press )

LAS VEGAS – The spiral of former Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks continued with his arrest near Barstow on Thursday night on charges including resisting arrest and throwing objects. The incident came just hours after state lawmakers in Carson City, Nev., expelled him from office in an unprecedented move, calling him “potentially dangerous.”

Officials say the 41-year-old Brooks was arrested about 7 p.m. on Interstate 15 at Stoddard Wells Road. He is being held in the San Bernardino County Jail in Rancho Cucamonga on $100,000 bail, jail officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Authorities said it was unclear why Brooks was in California.

The arrest followed a high-speed chase that ended when police used spike strips to disable the runaway vehicle in which the driver was throwing metal objects at police, including a handgun, according to the Victorville Daily Press.

Earlier this year, Brooks was arrested on suspicion of threatening a fellow Democrat, Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Within days after Brooks’ reported threats against the speaker, he was accused of grabbing for an officer's gun during an arrest in Las Vegas on suspicion of domestic battery.

In February, troubles also arose: Law enforcement officers said investigators shadowing Brooks from North Las Vegas say he unsuccessfully tried to purchase an unspecified type of gun  at a northern Nevada sporting goods store.

Investigators say Brooks had a gun and dozens of rounds of ammunition in his car after the first arrest.

Brooks, who has spent time under psychiatric observation, had been  banned from meetings with party colleagues in the Assembly and was banished from the Nevada Legislature Building. Last month, he was also kicked out of a casino restaurant in Reno for unspecified reasons.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne had notified the troubled lawmaker in a letter that he was being placed on paid leave pending recommendations from a select committee named to investigate whether he was fit to serve.

That decision came Thursday when the Nevada Assembly voted to oust Brooks, with Assembly Majority Leader William Horne calling him “potentially dangerous,” and said lawmakers didn't feel safe with him in the building.

Horne said that Brooks' unpredictable behavior – which included missing meetings, calling news conferences he never showed up for and posing shirtless for the Las Vegas Review-Journal – had made the session look “more like a circus and daytime drama than a serious legislative body.”

It was the first time the Legislature kicked out one of its members since a lawmaker was accused of libeling other members in 1867. Brooks won reelection in November by a 2-1 margin over a little-known challenger.

In words that seemed to portend the future, Brooks told reporters in January that his life was in disarray.

“I’ve had a hell of a month,” he told the Review-Journal in January after his initial arrest. “I had the worst month I had in all my life, and the new year just started.”

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john.glionna@latimes.com

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