The Strat Brawl Leads to Las Vegas Murder Charge, No Bail For Defendant

Posted on: October 14, 2021, 04:36h. 

Last updated on: October 14, 2021, 09:56h.

A Las Vegas man is to appear in court on Tuesday for allegedly murdering another man in the lobby of the Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod several weeks ago. The charge was brought to light this week.

Michael Saunders, Strat Murder Charge
Michael Saunders, in a mug shot, pictured above. He faces a murder charge after he punched a man who was bothering Saunder’s fiancee at the Strat, police said. (Image: LVMPD)

Initially, Michael Saunders was charged with battery for the Aug. 27 incident. But the charge was upgraded to murder after the victim died from his injuries, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Saunders is currently being held without bail. If convicted, he could face life in prison. He has previously been convicted for unrelated crimes in Nevada.

The incident began at the Strat when Saunder’s fiancee was waiting in line at the hotel-casino to check-in, the report said.

He heard her say “Stop touching me” and “Get away from me” to a man later identified as Thach Nguyen, police said. He was standing behind her in the line.

Saunders ran to the line and threw a punch at Nguyen, police said. Saunders did not say anything to the man.

The force of the punch led Nguyen to suffer what Metro police described as bleeding of the brain, the Review-Journal reported.

Within a few days, the victim died. The Clark County coroner’s office is in the process of determining the official cause and manner of his death.

Saunders was arrested the day of the incident. He was charged with murder on Aug. 31.

The Review-Journal also revealed that Saunders was convicted for domestic battery in 2008, according to court records. That charge stemmed from an incident in Las Vegas.

Five years later, Saunders was convicted on burglary, kidnapping, and robbery charges. He was sentenced to between eight and 20 years for those charges, the Review-Journal said.

Apparent Suicide

The Strat has seen other violent incidents in recent months. In one unrelated incident, an unnamed man jumped to his death last month from the top of the Strat. It was an apparent suicide.

He was a 30-year-old resident of Henderson, Nev., the Review-Journal said.

It appeared he landed near a ground-level entranceway close to a sidewalk along Las Vegas Boulevard, according to Vital Vegas.

Metro police did not provide a reason for him jumping.

Fatal Birthday Party

In still another incident at the Strat, last December a man in his early 30s was found dead after gunfire erupted in a hotel room. Several shots were fired, police added at the time.

The shooting happened during a birthday party in one of the hotel towers. The people in the room appeared to know one another before the shooting, police said.

The victim was later identified as Brandon Tucker of Las Vegas. His death was classified as a homicide following an autopsy by the local coroner’s office, the Review-Journal said. It appears that no one has been arrested in connection with the death.