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Dispute over meth fueled fatal shooting near Strip

Updated Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 | 5:35 p.m.

A fight over methamphetamine fueled a fatal shooting near the north end of the Strip earlier this week, according to an incident report released today.

Police late Thursday arrested Elias Ramirez-Lopez, 29, in connection with the shooting death of Jeffery Hand, 45, who had reportedly been helping a woman trying to purchase the drug from Ramirez-Lopez.

The woman told Metro Police that Hand lent her money so she could buy the drug at an apartment complex in the 2500 block of Lynnwood Street about 10 p.m. Tuesday from Ramirez-Lopez. But the alleged dealer told her she didn’t have enough, and he flung the cash on the floor of his PT Cruiser as an argument ensued, the report says.

The woman told police she yelled out for help from Hand and Javier Rodriguez, 41, and they ran up to Ramirez’s Cruiser and began fighting with Ramirez and a man that accompanied him.

The witness told officers that Ramirez, whom she knew only as “Paco” at the time, broke away from the fight and went inside his home to retrieve a handgun. He used it to gun down Hand and Rodriguez while they tried to run away.

When officers arrived, another female witness was dragging Hand into an apartment to tend to a gunshot wound to his back. He was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where he died.

Rodriguez was found in the parking lot of the apartment complex, also with a bullet wound to his back. He survived.

The woman who had been attempting to make the drug deal gave police her dealer’s cellphone number, and detectives subpoenaed Cricket Communications to obtain its call history and account information, linking Ramirez to the crime. A silver PT Cruiser registered to Ramirez also matched the vehicle used in the shooting.

Metro Police said Ramirez was taken into custody Thursday night near 6th Street and Sahara Avenue, near the scene of the shooting.

Ramirez-Lopez was being held today at the Clark County Detention Center without bail. He faces counts of murder with a deadly weapon, attempted murder with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon, police said.

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