Las Vegas Police Seek Shooters in Double Homicide Near the Strip

Posted on: January 8, 2021, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: January 9, 2021, 05:57h.

Two men were murdered in a spree of gunfire close to the forthcoming Virgin Las Vegas casino late Friday afternoon. Las Vegas Metro police continued to search for suspects into the night.

Police continued to search for the suspects
Las Vegas Metro Police Lt. Richard Meyers gives a briefing to reporters at the scene of a double homicide. It is near the Strip. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

One of the victims died at the site of the double homicide, which is an apartment complex about a quarter of a mile from the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. The other man was transported to a local hospital, but perished while undergoing emergency treatment.

The Metro police dispatch center received many calls at about 5:30 pm from possible witnesses who reported they heard multiple shots in the area of the apartments. Homicide detectives were interviewing the witnesses into the night.

The victims’ bodies were to be examined Friday night and the crime scene searched to determine the number of shots fired. Autopsies will be performed on the men.

Police did not specify how many shooters were suspected in the homicides. Also, it was unknown if the shooters drove away from the crime scene – which is east of the Strip – or ran, based on initial reports.

Nor, was it clear if the victims were armed with firearms or other weapons when the shootings occurred.

This event was extremely dynamic and it involves multiple witnesses and people calling into 911,” Metro Lt. Richard Meyers said during a Friday night press conference.

He encouraged possible witnesses to contact Metro homicide at (702) 828-3521. Or they can call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (702) 385-5555. Meyers said a reward could be offered and Crime Stoppers calls can be kept confidential.

Also, based on initial reports, an unidentified person drove through a perimeter set up by the police at the murder scene Friday evening. That driver later was getting tested for possible driving under the influence, according to KLAS, a local TV station.

One man attending the police press conference may have filmed the driver going through the police barricade. Police were going to review his video.

Over 1,220 Arrests from Operation Persistent Pressure

The shooting comes after last year, when Las Vegas police and other law enforcement agencies and casino security departments initiated Operation Persistent Pressure. It was formed in response to a surge in violent crime in the area of the Strip, as well as in other locations popular with tourists.

For months, police responded to fights, shootings, and other crimes at or near gaming properties along the Strip. The uptick in crime appeared to be getting under control, given the special enforcement initiative, police have said. Last year, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo blamed the surge in crime on out-of-state criminals and gang members.

This week, Metro police announced they arrested 1,229 suspects on or near the Strip between mid-September and late December during Operation Persistent Pressure, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Cops also seized 64 firearms during the weekend enforcement initiative, according to Metro Capt. Dori Koren.

Among the charges filed against the suspects were disorderly conduct, assault, battery, robbery, and shooting, police said.

Shootings Follow Prior Las Vegas Violence

For instance, one fight in front of the MGM Grand Las Vegas on a Friday night in November led to a man getting shot. A suspect was apprehended quickly by casino security. He was later charged with attempted murder.

In October, the MGM Grand Las Vegas casino was the scene of another altercation between two unidentified men. That culminated with a bullet being fired onto the casino floor, police said.

Also, in November an unnamed youngster was arrested on multiple charges for a Saturday night shooting at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino’s Metrodome. The incident left four wounded at the Las Vegas Strip amusement park.

This Friday’s homicides were close to the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. The property has yet to open, and it was still undergoing renovations last month.

Developers of the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas decided to delay the property’s opening because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas.