(Reuters) - Police have identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of an aspiring rapper as he drove on the Las Vegas Strip in a Maserati before dawn on Thursday, sparking a fiery crash that also killed a cab driver and his passenger.
Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, described as armed and dangerous, was still at large on Saturday, but the black Range Rover from which he is suspected of opening fire had been impounded, Las Vegas police said.
Authorities said a gunman in a Range Rover opened fire early on Thursday on the silver Maserati being driven by 27-year-old Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., who performed under the name “Kenny Clutch.”
Cherry was slain and his car veered out of control and smashed into a taxi, which exploded into flames in an intersection on the Las Vegas Strip in front of several casino resorts, killing the driver and a passenger and triggering another multi-car crash.
Authorities believe the confrontation started in the valet parking lot of a nearby hotel, the Aria Resort and Casino. But police did not identify a motive for the shooting or the altercation.
Police identified Harris, 26, as the driver of the apparently brand-new luxury sport utility vehicle, and said he had also opened fire. Police said in a statement that he had an “extensive and violent criminal history.”
Killed in the cab were driver Michael Bolden, 62, and a passenger who has not been identified by authorities. Las Vegas television station KTNV identified the passenger killed as Sandi Sutton, a Washington state woman who worked for a Seattle-area chamber of commerce.
A passenger in Cherry’s vehicle suffered a minor injury and cooperated with police, authorities said. Three other people were also injured in the melee, which took place near the Bellagio and Caesars Palace hotels.
The incident occurred 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 Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney