Vegas gun battle kills three
LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Strip became a scene of deadly violence early Thursday when someone in a black Range Rover opened fire on a Maserati, sending it crashing into a taxi that burst into flames, leaving three people dead and at least six injured.
Police believe an altercation earlier at an unspecified casino resort prompted the car-to-car attack in the heart of the Strip at Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. The crossroads is the site of several major hotel-casinos.
“This doesn’t happen where we come from, not on this scale,” said Mark Thompson, who was visiting from Manchester, England, with his wife. “We get stabbings, and gang violence, but this is like something out of a movie. Like Die Hard or something.”
Police said they were contacting authorities in three neighbouring states about the Range Rover Sport with dark tinted windows, distinctive black custom rims and paper dealer ads in place of license plates that fled the scene about 4:20 a.m.
In Southern California, the California Highway Patrol alerted officers in at least three counties to be on the lookout for the SUV.
Las Vegas Police Sgt. John Sheahan said the Range Rover was last seen near the Venetian resort as it headed north from the shooting scene on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Witnesses also told police the SUV and Maserati had come from the nearby CityCenter area, just south of the site of the attack.
“We have numerous witnesses to this,” Sheahan said. “But what is the genesis of this? We don’t know yet.”
Predawn jogger Eric Lackey was on his way back to the New York-New York hotel when he snapped a cellphone photo of the blazing scene moments after the crash. Black smoke billowed from the flaming taxi, amid popping sounds from the fire.
Lackey, of Forest Hill, Md., said a security officer in a yellow shirt performed CPR on a person on the sidewalk while police officers canvassed a small crowd of perhaps 15 onlookers at the scene.
“Police were asking if anyone was still in the vehicles and if they heard gunfire,” Lackey told The Associated Press. “That’s when I realized it wasn’t just a regular accident.”
Sheahan said police have video from traffic cameras at the intersection and were checking hotel surveillance systems. The video will not be made public, he said.
Police said the Maserati hit the taxi cab, which went up in flames, and the driver and passenger were killed. The male driver of the Maserati also died, and his passenger was shot.
The crumpled, grey sports car, which had no license plates, came to rest several feet away from the incinerated taxi.
“The people I feel sorry for are the people in the taxi,” said Elvina Joyce, a tourist from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. “Seconds made all the difference in the world for them. Wrong place, wrong time.”