Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Yellow strings dangle from the branches of a young tree outside a Las Vegas Valley church.
It’s a modest symbol with deep meaning: that although the day of his slaying is more than a decade removed, detectives haven’t forgotten about Michael Lucas.
Lucas’ life ended with two gunshots on Aug. 9, 2007. Officers responding to reports of early-morning blasts in the 1600 block of D. Street arrived to find his body in the yard of a vacant house.
A gunman was never identified, and investigative leads have been exhausted, but detectives haven’t given up.
The killing of the 42-year-old was highlighted Thursday afternoon in a remembrance ceremony of sorts at Liberty Baptist Church.
A group of officers, volunteers and clergy, who held “Justice for Families” posters displaying Lucas’ photo, flanked Metro Police Lt. Hector Cintron.
The cop directed his eyes to a camera: “The case has gone cold but definitely not forgotten,” Cintron said, as he outlined the details of the case and sought the public’s help.
“It could be that one piece of information that moves this case forward and gets it solved,” Cintron said.
Lucas was last seen with a black man in his early 30s, who stood about 5 feet, 6 inches, and wore a checkered-pattern shirt and brown pants. After the shooting, he reportedly fled in a small brown pickup truck with an extended cab, possibly a Ford, police said.
Metro’s Bolden Area Command regularly hosts similar community events at the church, 6501 W. Lake Mead Blvd.
A volunteer records a message from an official and uploads it on the substation’s social media accounts.
In the past, balloons have been released as family members have emotionally pleaded for the public to help ease their pain. Once, a shy little girl snuggled her head on her grandmother’s stomach, asking why her dad had to die.
On Thursday, Lucas’ loved ones weren’t there, but Officer Chad Baker was.
Baker, a 20-year Metro veteran, who also held a poster, recalled regular encounters with Lucas, whom he described as easily approachable and nice.
With the mentality of an old-school cop — walking the streets and interacting with the small central valley community — Baker would also ride his cruiser with the windows down and talk to Lucas on the street or at the market. He was also a responding officer when the fatal gunshots were reported.
Lucas’ friendly nature meant he always hung around with groups of people, and they might know more than they let on during the initial investigation, Baker said.
“He was a good guy,” Baker said.
After a prayer, attendees surrounded the tree. Some held to their posters as they knotted the yellow string to a branch.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Metro at 702-828-3521 or via email at [email protected]. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or online at crimestoppesrofnv.com.