Monday, February 25, 2013

Armed and Dangerous: Search Widens for Suspect in Fatal Shooting on Las Vegas Strip

Ammar Harris mug shot

The dramatic shooting involving luxury cars on the Las Vegas Strip, which ended in three deaths, including a rapper, can't help but be compared to the shooting just two blocks from where hip-hop star Tupac Shakur was mortally wounded.

The similarities are eery. car-to-car shooting at a busy intersection on the Strip with the gunman fleeing into the darkness; the victim, trying to get away from the gunfire while mortally wounded, ran a red light and ended up in an intersection two blocks from where Tupac was shot.

It was not unlike when Suge Knight, Tupac's record producer who was driving and was struck by shrapnel at the base of his neck, with Tupac, shot multiple times in the passenger seat, took off in his BMW, trying to flee the gunfire. The driver of the Cadillac from which the shooter fired sped away into the night, just as the Range Rover used in the Las Vegas Strip shooting got away.

In this recent case, however, unlike in the Shakur murder investigation, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police are determined to catch the killer. They've already located the Range Rover used in the shooting, and there's been a manhunt for the suspect since it went down just before dawn on February 21. The search has been expanded to include southeast states, where the suspect once lived.

The suspect has been identified as Ammar Harris, 26, who's also known as Ammar Asim Faruq Harris. As of this writing, he was still at large, although the black Range Rover that police said was used in the shooting has been located and impounded. If the motive is known, police have not released it.

Harris is considered armed and dangerous, and, police say, if he is seen, he should not be approached. He has several tattoos, including a small heart below his right eye and an owl that covers his neck and a portion of his chest. Harris, who is a convicted felon, has been arrested in the past for kidnapping, soliciting clients for a prostitute, and sexual assault, according to a news release.

The shooting occurred after an argument at in the valet area of a nearby hotel.

Kenneth Cherry, 27, an aspiring rapper known by the stage name Kenny Clutch, drove his Maserati from the valet area around 4:20 a.m. on February 21 when a suspect in the Range Rover shot at his car as it headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard. Cherry, who was shot in the chest and arm, later died at a local hospital.

Cherry, to escape the gunfire, drove the Maserati into the intersection on the Strip at Flamingo Road, against a red traffic light, and crashed into a taxi, which caught fire, killing cab driver Michael Boldon and his passenger, Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Maple Valley, Washington. The Clark County Coroner's Office has ruled all three deaths as homicides.

When I wrote the book, The Killing of Tupac Shakur, it was done in part to help solve the crime that police seemed reticent to investigate in-depth. Today, it's a different story. Had there been videotape at the parking garage set back from the street where Tupac was shot, police perhaps could have better pursued the killer.

There was videotape in the parking garage at the TI (previously known as Treasure Island hotel and casino), where Crips gang member Orlando Anderson stayed with fellow Crips gang members. Anderson is widely believed to be the shooter in the Shakur case.

Why Las Vegas police did not get images from surveillance video in the TI parking garage, to see if a white Cadillac had left the garage that evening, is still unknown.

In the meantime, the killing of Tupac Shakur remains unsolved, at least officially. But the Kenny Clutch investigation appears to be well on its way to the suspect's arrest so justice can be served this time around.


CSI School said...

It really seems like the police failed to do a complete investigation in this case?

Toby Crane said...

Thanks for sharing about the criminal lawyers in Edmonton. I feel like the people should be able to chose their lawyer.

Ross C. Goodman said...

It is good to know that despite our country's problems regarding such crimes, perpetrators are still apprehended due to our police enforcement's efforts. Crime rates may rise or fall but in the end, what's more important is the cooperation between the private citizens and our police force to settle such cases.

Jim Stout said...

This is a pretty crazy story. Whoever did this is going to need a really good criminal lawyer. Unless he has fled to Edmonton or something by now.