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September 21, 2014

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Police seek answers in Las Vegas developer’s shooting death in Utah

LEEDS, Utah — Authorities are seeking answers on why a Las Vegas real estate developer from Leeds was shot dead when he went to a neighbor's house with a handgun, they said Thursday.

Stephen Aizenberg, 70, walked up the driveway next to his own home in an upscale cul-de-sac at about 8:30 p.m. on July 17, witnesses told police. He pointed a gun at the residents who had called 911, according to investigators. The neighborhood is about 130 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

A man and several women visiting the neighbor didn't know why he came to the house, they told police. They say the male visitor, who is a retired law enforcement officer, shot Aizenberg as he continued to walk toward them with his gun pointed at them.

Police aren't saying how many people were there or how they knew each other, Washington County Sheriff's Det. Nate Abbott said. No arrests have been made related to the shooting.

A prepared statement on behalf of Aizenberg's family to the Salt Lake Tribune says that they are "shocked and shattered" by his death. The statement says Aizenberg was a respected businessman with a long career in real estate and contracting, for whom "family and community always came first."

It adds that the family "may never have all of the answers about this senseless tragedy. But we know without a shadow of a doubt that Stephen dedicated himself for all of his 70 years to family, community, philanthropy and faith. Our hearts are broken as we mourn his loss."

A statement on behalf of the neighbors from their family member Tammy Bleak says "our hearts and prayers go out to Steve's family for their incalculable loss."

Investigators say there's no evidence of previous conflicts between Aizenberg and his neighbors or their visitors and they have no record of any previous police calls involving Aizenberg, Abbott said.

Investigators plan to refer their findings to the county attorney's office for review sometime next week, Abbott said.

Attempts to reach several of Aizenberg's family members on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Aizenberg was a shrewd businessman, said Gene Maionchi, one of Aizenberg's former employees and the owner of Sacramento-based Mark III Management. Maionchi bought the company from his former boss 20 years ago.

Shortly after, Aizenberg arrived in Las Vegas during a housing boom, but later "foreclosures kind of dried up everything, and that's when he wanted to get out" of Nevada, Maionchi said.

"It didn't seem like he was the type to even own a gun. He had his moments of temper, but he wasn't a hunter or anything like that," Maionchi recalled. "He was always well dressed and well mannered. He certainly wasn't the outdoorsy type."

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