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December 18, 2014

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Police: Ax attack suspect went for officer’s gun; infant ID’ed

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Steve Marcus

Officials investigate a homicide scene involving an assault that left a child dead near San Pedro Avenue and 17th Street Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.

Updated Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 | 6:35 p.m.

Neighbors unite after fatal attack

Breanna Morehouse, 9, kneels at the site where neighbors placed candles, stuffed animals and flowers after a woman and her 4-month-old baby boy were attacked with an ax Thursday. The infant was killed and the woman is in critical condition at University Medical Center. Launch slideshow »

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Metro Police Homicide Lt. Lew Roberts speaks to reporters as police investigate an assault that left a child dead near San Pedro Avenue and 17th Street Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.

Attack location

New details emerged today with the release of a police report in the arrest of a 33-year-old man accused of chopping an infant and his mother with an ax, killing the baby.

Harold E. Montague was booked on one count of murder with a deadly weapon, two counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon and one count of attempted murder on a police officer in connection with an attack late Thursday morning in the 1600 block of San Pedro Avenue, near Sahara Avenue and South Maryland Parkway.

On Friday, residents in the neighborhood placed candles, stuffed animals and flowers on the sidewalk where the attack happened.

Neighbor Billy Christ, 79, said he felt horrible about the incident and placed a bouquet of flowers on the site. “I was very choked up about the baby,” he said. “This is a nice and quiet place. It wasn’t the neighborhood, it was him.”

At 11:52 a.m. on Thursday, police were dispatched to the location in response to a report of a woman being beaten in the street. When officers arrived they found a woman who was injured, sitting up in the street next to an upturned baby stroller. An infant was found near the woman, clearly deceased, police said.

Authorities say the attack appears to be random in nature and it is unknown what provoked the crimes that were committed in broad daylight on a street near downtown Las Vegas.

The baby was identified Friday afternoon as 4-month-old Damian Avila Castro, of Las Vegas. Police identified the injured woman in their report as the boy’s mother, Sandra Lisset Castro. She was taken to Sunrise Hospital in extremely critical condition and underwent emergency surgery for multiple head injuries.

According to the report, witnesses directed responding officers to a nearby residence and as they were observing the house, a man later identified as Montague came outside.

He had his hands above his head and yelled at officers: “What the (expletive) do you want,” he said to officers, according to the report.

At that point, Montague then charged at an officer, grabbed the officer’s shotgun and said he was going to kill him as he attempted to pull the officer’s shotgun away from his body, the report says. Montague reportedly hit the officer during the altercation but couldn't get the gun away from him.

Montague then tried to run back into the home but a second officer used a Taser and struck Montague in the lower back, police said. After being Tased, Montague was taken into custody, then transported to Sunrise Hospital.

Neighbor Dora Lara, 48, said she was sitting in her house when she heard a woman scream. Lara said she looked out her window and saw a man attacking a woman on her front lawn.

He cut across her face with the ax and there was a lot of blood and screaming, she said.

“I can’t sleep now,” Lara said. “I’m scared (and) keep seeing it happen.”

Breanna Morehouse, 9, said she had a nightmare about the attack Thursday night.

“I could barely sleep last night because I thought he was going to come in my house,” she said.

Breanna's mother, Margo Morehouse, said she doesn’t understand how someone could harm a child.

“I’ve seen this girl walk her baby around here before,” Margo Morehouse said. “It was an innocent child.”

Damian wasn’t the only child in the area at the time of the attack. As Montague was being handcuffed, a 5-year-old child walked out of the residence, police said. Officers then searched the residence to determine if any other people had been injured.

Inside the home, they found a mentally and physically disabled woman bleeding from the waist. Police later learned that woman was Montague’s sister-in-law, who lived with him in the home.

A 3-year-old child also was found inside the home, uninjured, sitting in a highchair.

In an interview with KVBC Channel 3, Montague’s wife, Errica, said her husband must have been having a “mental episode” and that he had been diagnosed as a sociopath as a child. In the interview, she described him as a “ticking time bomb” and apologized to the victims’ family.

“I just need him to get help and I just want the family to know I am very sorry,” she told KVBC. “I have children of my own and it's very tough and I’m very, very, very sorry for what he did. I know he didn't know what he was doing. That's not him.”

She told the TV station her husband had always been a loving father and a good provider.

The sister-in-law was said to be in good condition at University Medical Center.

Detectives spoke with two women who said they saw the man who lived across the street strike a woman and her baby with an ax. One of the women, Teresa Garner, said she first thought the man was beating the woman with a golf club but soon realized the situation was much more serious.

Garner, who called 911, said she ran outside and yelled at Montague to stop.

Neighbor Jack Webb III, 60, said he didn’t hear the altercation but saw the child in the street when he walked outside.

“It was wretchedly horrid,” he said. “I hope I never have to see anything like that again.”

Montague is set to appear before a judge Tuesday morning. He is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.

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