SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

February 22, 2013

Police: Hotel altercation sparked Vegas shooting

LAS VEGAS — Bullets were flying from a black Range Rover at a gray Maserati as the vehicles raced toward a red light on the Las Vegas Strip.

Beneath the neon lights, police say, the Maserati ran the red light at one of the Strip’s busiest intersections and smashed into a taxi that exploded into flames early yesterday, killing the two people inside.

Three more cars and a utility truck collided at the crossroads home to Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Bally’s, leaving at least six more people injured as the Range Rover sped off in the predawn darkness.

The Maserati driver was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The dramatic scene that more than one tourist compared to something out of a violent action movie set off a frantic search for the occupants of the Range Rover and marked the latest violent episode on the Strip since the beginning of the year.

Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage on Feb. 6, and a tourist was stabbed last Saturday in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie told reporters several hours after yesterday’s attack that it was sparked by an argument in the valet area of the nearby Aria hotel-casino, and that the violence at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road did not reflect the values of Las Vegas residents or visitors.

“What happened will not be tolerated,” Gillespie said. He promised the shooters would be “found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

On the Strip, the fiery rampage shocked tourists.

“This doesn’t happen where we come from, not on this scale,” said Mark Thompson, who was visiting from Manchester, England, with his wife. “We get stabbings, and gang violence, but this is like something out of a movie. Like ‘Die Hard’ or something.”

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