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October 24, 2014

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Search widens for suspect in Las Vegas Strip shooting

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Ammar Harris is sought in connection with the deaths of three people on the Strip on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.

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Metro Police released this picture of a Range Rover believed to have been used in a shooting and collision that killed three people.

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 »

A manhunt has widened to southeastern U.S. states for a 26-year-old ex-convict identified as the prime suspect in a shooting and fiery crash that killed three last week on the Las Vegas Strip, police said Monday.

Ammar Harris used to live in South Carolina and Georgia. He was convicted in Atlanta in 2005 of marijuana possession, and he was arrested in Miami in December on a reckless driving charge, according to public records.

Harris also was arrested in June 2010 in Las Vegas on pandering, kidnapping, sex assault and coercion charges stemming from allegations that he was a pimp. He sometimes goes by the name Ammar Asim Faruq Harris.

Investigators believe Harris was the driver and the gunman who fired shots from a black Range Rover SUV into a Maserati, killing an aspiring rapper and causing a crash and explosion that killed two people when a taxi exploded in a fireball before dawn Thursday at the heart of the Strip.

"We have him identified," Las Vegas police Capt. Chris Jones said. "Now the focus is on locating and apprehending him. We're getting help all over the place."

A SWAT team didn't find Harris at his home after the SUV was found parked Saturday in the garage of a gated apartment complex a couple of blocks east of the Strip.

The SUV had been sought as the getaway vehicle in the shooting and six-vehicle, chain-reaction crash on Las Vegas Boulevard near the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Bally's and Flamingo resorts.

Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr. was mortally wounded when the dark gray Maserati he was driving was peppered by gunfire from the SUV. Taxi driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund of Maple Valley, Wash., died in the taxi.

Police say the triple homicide stemmed from an altercation between Cherry and Harris in a valet area of the upscale Aria resort a block south of the crash scene at Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.

A passenger in the Maserati was wounded in the arm, and four people from four other vehicles were treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the crash

Police released a photo of Harris taken following his arrest in Las Vegas in the prostitution case. The disposition of the case wasn't immediately known.

The photo showed Harris with tattoos on his right cheek and words on his neck above an image that appeared to depict an owl with blackened eyes. Jones said Harris should be considered armed and dangerous.

Las Vegas police sought help during the search for the Range Rover from local and federal authorities in Nevada and neighboring states of Arizona, California and Utah.

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  1. I like how the sun paints the shooter as an ex-con, but the 'aspiring rapper' as a good guy.....sorry not buying it.

    Put out a reward for this guys whereabouts and he'll be caught in a few days.

  2. John L. Smith presented lots of information from 'court records'... probably hand delivered by his 'contacts' on the police department. I'm just wondering why we don't hear about convictions or sentences to prison? Is this a 'systems' problem where arrests are not being made, cases are not being prosecuted successfully when arrests ARE made, and where judges are not locking up pimps?

    Ocean Fleming was on the radar for the LV Sun not long ago. These convictions and prison sentences are way too rare...Detective Baughman told Jim Rogers that there are 'thousands' of pimps in Las Vegas.

    He was also interviewed in the Las Vegas Weekly and responded to this question, Do you think trafficking and pimping are bigger issues in Las Vegas than anywhere else?

    "Las Vegas is definitely the place to be. There is so much money in a small area. You can hide in plain sight here. Where else can a 22-year-old drive down the street in a Maserati and nobody pays attention? We've sort of opened the door for a lot of bad people to come here."

    He certainly presaged this recent event...I'm wondering if he upset the sheriff with the 'negative tone' of his comments (We've sort of opened the door for a lot of bad people to come here.) It is truly amazing at what some 'special' people can get away with under Sheriff Gillespie...self promoting and profiting from their current jobs... Vice Detectives, captains and lieutenants too...

    Why were 3 experienced VICE sergeants transferred out of the unit in one year? There is soooo much more of the story to be told.