Police Detail 9 Minutes Before Las Vegas Fireball

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  • LAS VEGAS (AP) — It took just nine fateful minutes for a valet stand dispute to escalate to a deadly Las Vegas Strip shooting, crash and fireball.

    Nearly every second was captured by video, audio and witness accounts and detailed in a Las Vegas police report made public after a weeklong manhunt led to the arrest of Ammar Harris in Los Angeles on Thursday.

    Investigators say Harris, a 26-year-old felon and self-described pimp, exchanged angry words with aspiring rapper Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr. in a casino valet area.

    The shouting continued as the two men drove in separate cars along Las Vegas Boulevard, with tires squealing and a horn blaring.

    Police say it wasn’t long before Harris began shooting, Cherry was mortally wounded, and his Maserati careened into a taxi that exploded in a fireball. In the end, Cherry and two other people were dead, and five others were injured in a spectacular, multi-vehicle crash at one of the most famous neon-lit crossroads in Las Vegas.

    Stunned tourists compared the carnage to a Hollywood action film.

    The report said it was 4:11 a.m. Feb. 21 when Harris stood for a moment in the valet area of the glossy and glassy Aria resort, talking with Cherry, who was in the driver’s seat of the dark gray Maserati.

    “What was said specifically, I can’t say,” Las Vegas police Capt. Chris Jones said Friday. “But it’s clear there was an exchange of words and a dispute that led to this senseless act.”

    Police found no gun in the Maserati and no evidence that Cherry had returned fire in the attack that ended just before 4:20 a.m. The SUV disappeared along Las Vegas Boulevard as cab driver Michael Boldon, 62, of Las Vegas, and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Washington state perished in the taxi.

    A passenger in the Maserati, Freddy Walters, 26, was shot in the arm, and four people in four other vehicles were hurt, none seriously, in the chain-reaction crashes.

    Attempts to reach Walters have not been successful. Police say he cooperated with investigators.

    Cherry, 27, was buried Thursday in Oakland, Calif., about the same time Harris was arrested, said Vicki Greco, a Las Vegas lawyer representing Cherry’s parents and family.

    Boldon and Sutton-Wasmund were mourned by friends and family members who were shocked by what Boldon’s younger brother called the “I don’t give a care attitude” of the crime.

    Sutton-Wasmund, a two-time breast cancer survivor, will be remembered at a funeral Saturday in Maple Valley, Wash., as a tireless catalyst for causes, activities and events in her school and business community, said Sue VanRuff, a friend and executive director of the Greater Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce.

    “Many people don’t know Sandi for one thing. They know Sandi for lots of things,” VanRuff said. “If she didn’t know you, she made it her mission to know you. To be your friend.”

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