Security increased at Yerington court after alleged threat

The Yerington District courthouse was secured on Tuesday after Reno police received a report that a relative was upset that no charges would be filed against the men he felt was responsible for his cousin's death a year ago in Mason Valley.

A teletype sent out to Northern Nevada law enforcement agencies by the Reno Police Department about 1 a.m. Tuesday stated that Reno resident Russell Upton, 34, was possibly headed to Yerington.

"Upton is possibly armed with a shotgun and is upset his family member was shot and the shooter was not convicted," the teletype stated.

Russell's cousin, Robert Brian Upton, 33, died May 29, 2007, following a "mutual combat" fight with Corey Warren, 23, at a home in Mason Valley, according to the Lyon County Sheriff's Department.

The Lyon County coroner found that Robert Upton died as a result of Warren falling on Upton's head during the struggle.

On Monday night, a friend of Russell Upton's called Reno police concerned that Upton might try to avenge his cousin's death by finding Warren.

Reno Police Lt. Robert McDonald said Russell learned Monday morning that there would be no charges filed in Robert Upton's death.

"He made allegations that he was going to find the guy that killed his cousin," McDonald said.

Lyon County District Attorney Bob Auer said the information received by Yerington Police only stated Russell Upton was upset and heading to Yerington. The target of Russell's alleged ire was not clarified.

On Tuesday morning, officers with the Yerington Police Department, assisted by Lyon County deputies, secured the notoriously security-free building, for fear that law enforcement was the target.

Several phone calls to Yerington Police Chief Darren Wagner were not returned by press time Tuesday.

By Tuesday afternoon, Russell Upton was located in Sacramento. McDonald did not know his status.

District Attorney Bob Auer said he was relieved to learn that the courthouse and his office were not the targets of the alleged threat.

But, he noted, the incident served a purpose.

"It really illustrates the need for better security at our courthouse. We have no metal detector and no marshal, which virtually every other district court in the state has," he said. "It's not good. I think this is something that the court and the county have tried to work on and I don't know why nothing has ever been done about it."

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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