(Adds details from afternoon news conference)
By Dan Whitcomb
Feb 25 The prime suspect in the slaying of an
aspiring rapper who was shot and killed while driving a Maserati
on the Las Vegas Strip has a long criminal history, with prior
arrests on charges that include robbery, sexual assault and
kidnapping, police said on Monday.
Four days after the shooting touched off a fiery pre-dawn
crash at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip that also killed a
taxi driver and his passenger, police said they were now seeking
help from the public in finding 26-year-old Ammar Harris.
Authorities believe Harris is the man who opened fire from
behind the wheel of a black Range Rover on Kenneth Wayne Cherry
Jr., 27, early on Thursday at an intersection near several
casino resort hotels.
Cherry, who performed under the name "Kenny Clutch," was
mortally wounded and his sports car veered out of control,
colliding with a taxicab in the intersection of Las Vegas
Boulevard and Flamingo Road.
Killed in the cab when it exploded into flames were driver
Michael Bolden, 62, and a passenger identified in local media
reports as Sandi Sutton of Washington state.
At a news conference on Monday afternoon, police officials,
who over the weekend identified Harris as their prime suspect,
asked members of the public with knowledge of his whereabouts to
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lieutenant Ray Steiber said
anyone "harboring" Harris or helping him elude a multi-state
manhunt could face charges as well.
"We are utilizing every available resource at our disposal
to locate and take into custody Mr. Harris. He's wanted for
three murders," Steiber said.
Police have said there were several men in the Range Rover
at the time of the shooting, but officials declined on Monday to
discuss the other occupants of the luxury vehicle.
HARRIS CALLED ONLY GUNMAN
"We are confident that Ammar Harris was and is the only
shooter on that night," Steiber said. "At this point Ammar
Harris is the one responsible for the shooting and the murder of
Steiber said no weapons were found in Cherry's silver
Maserati and he did not return fire on the Range Rover.
"Right now, as far as we're concerned, Mr. Cherry, he's the
victim of a murder and that's what we're focused on," he said.
Police officials said Harris has a lengthy criminal record
that includes arrests for weapons and pandering charges. It was
not immediately clear if any had resulted in convictions.
He is described as having several distinctive tattoos,
including a large black-eyed owl on his neck and small heart on
his upper right cheek.
The apparently brand new Range Rover, which sported paper
dealer plates, has been impounded, but police have declined to
say where it was found. Steiber said no guns were found inside.
Authorities say the shooting may have stemmed from a verbal
altercation in the valet area of the Aria Resort and Casino a
few blocks away on the Strip.
The incident took place less than a mile from where rapper
Tupac Shakur was 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; Editing by Cynthia Johnston,
Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)