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October 20, 2014

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Suspects in Strip shooting still at large; taxi passenger identified

Image

Steve Marcus

Tourists look northbound from a pedestrian overpass near Harmon Avenue after a shooting and multi-car accident that left three people dead and three injured on the Las Vegas Strip at Flamingo Avenue early Thursday morning Feb. 21, 2013.

Updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 9:06 p.m.

Strip shooting crash

Smoke and flames billow from a burning vehicle following a shooting and multicar accident on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Fatal crash

A day after a sensational early-morning shooting on the Las Vegas Strip left three people dead, the manhunt for suspects continued and police released few new details. Late Friday, the last of the deceased victims was identified as a Seattle-area woman.

The shooting — which followed a script more in line with a blockbuster Hollywood movie than set in reality — included two luxury vehicles, an argument at a high-end casino parking lot, a brazen, public use of firearms and the deaths of two innocent bystanders.

It all started about 4:30 a.m. Thursday in the valet area of the Aria, a hotel-casino near CityCenter, at Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. There, police say, an argument started. Two vehicles — a Maserati and a Range Rover Sport — left the valet area and turned north onto Las Vegas Boulevard, where someone in the Range Rover began firing at the Maserati.

Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie said after the Maserati driver was hit with gunfire, he lost control of the car, passed through a red light at Flamingo Road and hit a taxi cab, which went up in flames. A passenger in the Maserati was grazed by a bullet but survived, police said.

Metro Police Sgt. John Sheahan said the Range Rover was last seen near the Venetian resort as it headed north from the shooting scene. He said police have video from traffic cameras at the intersection and were checking hotel surveillance systems, but added that the video would not be made public.

The search for the Range Rover and its occupants extended past Las Vegas into other parts of Nevada plus California, Arizona and Utah.

"What happened will not be tolerated," Gillespie said at a Thursday news conference, adding the suspects would "found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Most people on Friday walked past the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road without noticing the remnants of the crash the previous day.

Orange cones sat next to scraps of concrete from busted columns on a retaining wall near Bally's. Yellow and white markings highlighted skid marks.

Metro provided few new details into their investigation Friday, but the Clark County Coroner's Office on Friday evening released details about the deceased.

"Detectives were working throughout the night and we no stone is being left unturned," Officer Marcus Martin said. "It takes a while to go through all of the footage from the cameras, and there may be some new information (but) we aren't quite ready to release."

The Clark County Coroner’s Office on Friday morning identified the Maserati driver as Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., 27. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

He was an aspiring rapper from Oakland who had moved to Las Vegas and lived in a downtown high rise. His twitter feed included links to videos identifying him as "Kenny Clutch" and with scenes featuring a Maserati on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I can tell you this ... the world has lost a good man," Cherry's 75-year-old aunt, Pat Sims of Oakland, told the Associated Press. "I'm not saying he didn't have his faults, but he was very kind, especially to older people.

“Whatever happened in Vegas, I don't know about, but he was a very kind soul."

A memorial for Cherry was being organized for 6 p.m. Friday at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, where his life came to a tragic end.

The two people in the taxi — the driver and a passenger — also died. The Coroner’s Office Friday night identified the driver as Michael Boldon, 62, and Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Maple Valley, Wash., as the deceased taxi passenger. Both died of multiple blunt-force injuries, the coroner said.

Sutton's family released a statement to KING-TV: "On behalf of Sandi’s family, Sandi was a loving wife, mother, daughter and sister. Her innocent and tragic loss will be felt by all of those who knew and loved her and by the community at large. Her family appreciates the out pouring of love and support, and respect for privacy shown throughout this very difficult time."

Sutton was a business owner and worked for the Seattle-area Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce as a marketing and sales representative.

Boldon had moved to Las Vegas from Michigan.

"Sometimes when you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, innocent folks get killed," his brother, Carl Bolden, told The Detroit News.

Michael Bolden, 62, graduated from Detroit Southwestern High School in 1968 and attended Ferris State University, where he studied business, his brother told the newspaper.

"He sold cars, but things fell apart here so he decided to move to Vegas," Bolden said. "He had been in Vegas just shy of a year; he'd been commuting back and forth for some time before he finally moved there."

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  1. Tragic ending to 2 innocent lives who had nothing to do with altercation between 2 thugs. The poor cab driver just trying to make a living and the passenger that no one even knows who that person is. I wonder if the cab was a CNG powered cab to cause an explosion like that, I know it's green but is being green safe?.

  2. Sad state when they focus more on the loss of a 27 year old "aspiring" rapper who drives a Maserati and gets into a gun fight, than the local family man, working for living he killed..

  3. I was watching the news this evening. 'Kenny Clutch's' lawyer said his 'gangsta' act was just that, an act. I don't think so. I learned decades ago; if it walks, talks, acts, and looks like a 'gangsta'? It sure as hell IS a 'gangsta'.

    Mr. Kenny 'Clutch' Cherry was a 'gangsta' in-denial. He must have made some powerful gangstas (probably from his hometown of Oakland, I might add) pretty angry to go to all this trouble to lease (they're crazy to buy this vehicle if they did) a 2013 Range Rover, with windows tinted so dark nobody can see who is in the vehicle, and so equipped with vehicle bling that it stands out, to track this creep to Vegas, where they shot, and killed, not just him, but, a taxicab which exploded into flames, killing an innocent driver, and his passenger.

    To date, Las Vegas has over 15,000 KNOWN gang members living here. It burns me up to hear that folks are surprised this stuff happens.

    Wake up people. Take off your earbuds and headphones and get off your IPhones and pay attention to what goes on around you in REAL time. You might save a life....possibly your own.

  4. There are so many cameras at casinos and businesses along the strip, for someone to shoot up anyone on the strip is stupid. All the police have to do is look at the license plate of that SUV and look up who it's registered to. They can also see who got in and out of the SUV and trace their whereabouts at the casinos they were in and out of.

    I dont know if anyone that was a victim of this senseless crime and accident was a good or bad person, but I can say that no one who died that day pulled a gun and started shooting at a moving vehicle. And for all three that died and the others who were victims of a crime that day they deserve justice, and that will happen when the person or persons who committed this crime are brought to justice, tried, and given a just punishment.

    Dear Metro - let's make this happen!

  5. Why did this cab erupt in flames so quickly? Is anyone looking into that? I know a lot of cabs run on CNG , is it really that safe. Helloooo, is the fire department or CSI looking at this? We all know the events that lead up to this , but why did this cab burn so quickly? The surivivors of the 2 victims in the cab deserve to know. Because a bunch of thugs act stupid a cab blows up? hmmm

  6. lets recap...
    no visible means of support
    $200,000 car, with no tags
    lives in newport lofts
    male passenger in car not identified
    police have nothing on him, not a known pimp or drug dealer
    always gets out of tickets
    has a lawyer on speed dial
    shoot out on las vegas blvd
    initial reports of him shooting back changed
    if all of this is true then he is a DEA or FBI agent...

  7. I just wonder how long it will take before this is inducted into the MOB Museum as another attaction?

    Yeah the city can promote it as a living Museum and tourist can become interactive members.

    The city should rethink this Mob Museum thing by sensationalizing it as something great.

    The poor lady came from her home town to patronize this city for a vacation and the Taxi driver just trying to eek out a living are just shoved to the way side as if they were a news paperstand that just happened to sustain some damage in a minor accident. It leaves me DISCOMBOBULATED!