Las Vegas Strip shooting suspect arrested in L.A. area

LOS ANGELES Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:31pm EST

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department photograph shows Tineesha Lashun Howard, also know as Yenesis Alfonzo, 22 years of age of Miami Florida, with Ammar Harris (L) in this image released on February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department/Handout

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department photograph shows Tineesha Lashun Howard, also know as Yenesis Alfonzo, 22 years of age of Miami Florida, with Ammar Harris (L) in this image released on February 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man accused of gunning down an aspiring rapper killed as he drove his Maserati on the Las Vegas Strip last week has been arrested in Southern California, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said on Thursday.

Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., 27, was fatally wounded in the shooting, and his silver Maserati veered into a taxicab, killing the driver and his passenger when it exploded into flames. Cherry performed under the name "Kenny Clutch."

"We can confirm that the LAPD-FBI task force arrested a fugitive from Las Vegas wanted by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department," Los Angeles police spokesman Lieutenant Andy Neiman said.

He said that suspect was identified as 26-year-old Ammar Harris, who has been the subject of a multi-state manhunt since the incident early on February 21.

Las Vegas police say Harris has a long criminal history that includes arrests for robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping and soliciting prostitution.

Authorities say the dramatic shooting in a busy intersection of the desert resort city may have stemmed from a verbal altercation in the valet area of the Aria Resort and Casino, a few blocks away on the Strip.

Earlier on Thursday, Las Vegas police said homicide investigators had found and interviewed 22-year-old Yenesis Alfonzo, who had been listed as a "person of interest" in the case.

Police officials said Alfonzo, also known as Tineesha Howard, had confirmed to detectives that she was in the black Range Rover at the time of the shooting and had been cleared as a person of interest.

The apparently brand-new Range Rover used in the shooting, which still bore paper dealer plates, has been impounded by police, who have not said where the luxury sport utility vehicle was found. No weapons were discovered inside.

Taxi companies have pledged $35,000 toward a reward fund leading to the arrest and conviction of Harris.

The Las Vegas shooting took place less than a mile from where rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in September 1996 while riding in a BMW with Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight after the two men had attended a Mike Tyson boxing match.

Shakur, 25, was hit by gunfire from at least one assailant in a Cadillac while sitting in Knight's car at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane and died six days later at a hospital. His murder remains unsolved.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Cynthia Johnston, Matthew Lewis and Bernard Orr)

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