Wausau Courthouse Increases Security, Names Courtroom After Multiple Shooting Victim

Sara Quirt-Sann Helped Judges Decide The Fate of Children In Domestic Legal Cases

Marathon County Courthouse metal detector
Visitors to the Marathon County Courthouse now have to pass through a metal detector before entering.
Glen Moberg/WPR

The shooting that claimed the lives of four victims in Wausau on March 22 has led to changes at the Marathon County courthouse. There is now tighter security and a courtroom has been named in memory of one of the victims.

The Sara Quirt-Sann Memorial Courtroom was named after a family lawyer who worked as a guardian ad litem, helping judges decide the fate of children in domestic legal disputes. She was shot and killed at the Tlusty, Kennedy and Dirks law office in Schofield, about two miles south of the courthouse. She was 43 years old.

Quirt-Sann was representing the wife of the accused shooter Nengmy Vang.

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Her friend and coworker Pam VanOoyen, a judicial coordinator for Judge Michael Moran, said Quirt-Sann genuinely cared about the children she served.

“She made a huge difference. She was such a good person. Anybody that had ever encountered her would probably tell you the same thing. She always had a smile on her face. She was always positive. She was always very caring and kind,” VanOoyen remembered.

VanOoyen said the county’s circuit judges trusted Quirt-Sann.

“The judge usually relies on the guardian ad litem to make his decision, and most of the time it’s based on her advice. So she was basically deciding the fate of where these children were going to end up,” she said.

VanOoyen said she is still haunted by the death of her friend.

“Once we got word that it was a Sara, it was kind of a blur. I can’t even describe how I felt. It was horrible. I was extremely shocked, upset and devastated,” VanOoyen said.

After the shootings the courthouse strengthened security by requiring all visitors to pass through a metal detector at the main entrance.

“I feel a heck of a lot safer here. After that shooting, we had no idea if this guy was going to come here. What do you do? How do you handle something like that?” VanOoyen asked.

The shooting incident also took the lives of Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland and two Marathon Savings Bank employees, Karen Barclay and Dianne Look.

Vang died from his injuries following a shootout with police.

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