Mon, Feb 25, 2013 - Page 7 News List

‘Pimp’ named suspect in Vegas shooting

ARMED AND DANGEROUS:Ammar Harris is still at large, while the family of shooting victim Kenneth Cherry Jr, an aspiring rapper, denied he was a gangster or troublemaker

AP, LAS VEGAS

The black SUV used as a getaway car in a pre-dawn shooting and crash that killed an aspiring rapper in a Maserati and two people in a taxi on Las Vegas’ main boulevard was found on Saturday as police named a 26-year-old man as the prime suspect.

Ammar Harris was being sought in connection with the shooting and six-vehicle chain-reaction carnage on Thursday on the famous neon-lit boulevard known as the Strip near the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Bally’s and Flamingo resorts, police said.

“His location is unknown,” police Captain Chris Jones said of Harris, who sometimes goes by the name Ammar Asim Faruq Harris.

Police say he has been arrested for working as a pimp.

Police released a photograph that was taken when Harris was arrested last year on pandering, kidnapping, sexual assault and coercion charges. The disposition of that case was not immediately known.

The photograph shows Harris with tattoos on his right cheek and words on his neck above an image that appeared to depict an owl with blackened eyes. Jones warned that Harris should be considered armed and dangerous.

Police had been searching for the black Range Rover, with blackout windows and distinctive black rims, since it was last seen speeding from the shooting. It was found at an apartment complex just a couple of blocks east of the boulevard, and was impounded as evidence, Jones said.

The shooting killed aspiring rapper Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr, who was driving a dark gray Maserati that was peppered by gunfire from the SUV. Taxi driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, of Maple Valley, Washington, died when the Maserati hit their taxi, which exploded in flames.

Boldon, 62, was a family man who moved from Michigan to Las Vegas. Sutton-Wasmund, 48, was a businesswoman and mother of three.

A passenger in the Maserati was wounded in the arm and four people from four other vehicles were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The Maserati passenger was cooperating with investigators. His name has not been made public.

The shocking chain of events had family members and friends in Las Vegas, California, Michigan and Washington trying to grasp the blink-of-an-eye finality of it all.

“My son was a good boy,” Kenneth Cherry Sr told reporters on Saturday in a news conference convened by Las Vegas lawyers Vicki Greco and Robert Beckett.

Beckett said they wanted to respond to rumors that the 27-year-old son — who produced a rap video using the name Kenny Clutch — was a gangster and a troublemaker. The attorneys had represented his son, and now represent his estate and the family.

“My son was a victim just like the two people in that taxi,” Kenneth Cherry Sr said. “Trouble found him. The people in the taxicab, trouble found them.”

Court records show Cherry had no criminal cases or convictions in Las Vegas, and police said there was no record of arrests.

The Clark County coroner determined that Kenny Cherry died of at least one gunshot to the chest. Boldon and Sutton-Wasmund died of injuries in the crash. All three deaths were ruled homicides.

Police say the shooting appeared to stem from an argument at the valet area of the upscale Aria resort-casino about a block south of the crash scene. The shooting happened after a night featuring Morocco-born rapper French Montana at Aria nightclub Haze.

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