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Police: Fleeing driver in fatal attack on Las Vegas bicyclist is parolee

Rodrigo Cruz

metro police

Rodrigo Cruz

Updated Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 | 8:19 p.m.

As the woman's day was getting started Sunday morning, the men connected to her death were wrapping up a night out. 

About 7:20 a.m., Michelle Weissman was pedaling down a bike lane on Hollywood Boulevard, near Sahara Avenue, greeting a pair of pedestrians she’d encountered, according to Metro Police. 

Rodrigo Cruz, 22, and his passenger — identified in reports as Giovanni Medina Barajas, 20 — were heading home when the younger man positioned himself halfway out the window as he “took a swing” at one of the pedestrians, missing, police said.

The man walking had heard an engine rev behind him, and when the minivan passed, he saw Medina Barajas hit Weissman off her bike, police said.

Weissman, 55, died at the scene, as did Medina Barajas, who had fallen out of the van with the momentum of the strike, police said.

Cruz continued driving, and when he was arrested later that day, he said he left because he figured Medina Barajas was uninjured, police said.

Cruz was booked at the Clark County Detention Center on one count of murder and two felony counts of failure to stop at the scene of a crash, Las Vegas Justice Court records show.  The Clark County District Attorney’s Office apparently declined to prosecute the murder charge, logs show.

Police and witnesses said three vehicles were speeding recklessly when Cruz veered into the bike lane, near where Medina Barajas tried to slap the man.

Investigators said evidence suggests that a vehicle had struck the sidewalk near the fatal impact, and a witness told detectives that the front-right side of the van had hit Weissman’s bike around the time of the crash, before Medina Barajas flew out of the van, according to the report.  

A motorist and his daughter stopped at the scene and tried to help Weissman, police said.

One of the three vehicles that were speeding on Hollywood returned to the scene where a trio of “young women” began crying and yelling for Medina Barajas, police said. 

The women told detectives that they’d been hanging out and drinking at “the view” with Cruz, Medina Barajas, and others, which apparently refers to a hillside perch near Hollywood and Lake Mead boulevards, police said.

They said they were all heading to Cruz’s house, according to the report.

Police took Cruz into custody at his house later that day. In a lengthy interview, he contradicted himself, first telling detectives that he didn’t remember driving on the bike lane when Medina Barajas targeted the walking pedestrians.

Cruz said he might’ve veered off when he was trying to get his passenger back in his seat, police said.

“He never went back to check on him because he was scared since he was on parole and didn’t think Gio was hurt,” according to the arrest report. “Gio was always doing stupid stuff, but (Cruz) stated he wasn’t intentionally driving in a manner to allow Gio to make contact with any pedestrians or the bicyclist.”

Additionally, Cruz is being held in a 2016 robbery case.

In May 2016, Cruz was sentenced to four to 12 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, Clark County District Court records show. He was given credit for 285 days of time served.

Cruz, who had no attorney listed in court logs, will next appear in front of a judge Wednesday.