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Bail set at $150,000 for suspect in bus station shooting

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 | 4:42 p.m.

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James Abney

Details emerged Tuesday about a homeless ex-convict from Texas who is accused of shooting at security guards after one ushered him out of a downtown Las Vegas bus station on a cold night.

James Calvin Abney, 64, of Forney, Texas, stood in shackles in a courtroom and said little while Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan appointed a public defender to represent him, noted Abney's criminal history, set bail at $150,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 24.

Abney's lawyer, Benjamin Saxe, declined immediate comment. He said he was still collecting information about the case and hadn't spoken with Abney.

Police say five shots were fired, but no one was injured in the 6:40 p.m. Thursday shooting at the Greyhound bus station on Main Street, about a block from the bustling Fremont Street Experience casino pedestrian mall.

Abney faces felony charges including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in a structure that could get him decades in Nevada state prison. He also faces a felony burglary charge alleging he entered a building intending to commit a crime.

Abney, who told police he was homeless, said he went into the bus station to buy a bus ticket to California and to get warm. The National Weather Service reported temperatures of 37 degrees at the time.

A 21-year-old security officer who had been on the job for two weeks told police he instructed Abney several times to move along before Abney pulled a chrome .25-caliber handgun and fired one shot from a position so close he must have tried to miss.

The uniformed guard said he ran into the building and then back out when Abney walked inside. The guard said a second shot struck a glass wall near an exit behind him.

A security supervisor told police that as she neared the other guard, they heard three more shots.

Witnesses in the bus station described hiding in a broom closet until police arrived.

Abney told police during a taped interview that he was angry about having been asked to move and he shot in the air to scare the guard. He said he smoked a cigarette and went looking for the guard again.

Abney said he tried unsuccessfully to shoot himself before police arrived and he surrendered.

Records in Texas show that Abney was paroled in May 2010 from Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville after serving 33 years of a life sentence for aggravated robbery from Dallas County and murder in Walker County.

Texas parole board spokeswoman Marsha McLane said Abney had no significant rules violations during more than three decades in prison and his parole conditions were later eased about 18 months after his release for good compliance.

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant in Dallas contributed to this report.

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