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 the Las Vegas Strip was found 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 Thursday on the neon-lit boulevard near the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Bally’s and Flamingo resorts, police said.
“His location is unknown,” police Capt. 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 photo 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 photo 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 located at an apartment complex just a couple of blocks east of the neon-lit 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, Wash., died when the Maserati hit their taxi, which exploded in flames.
Boldon, 62, was a family man who moved from Michigan to Las Vegas.
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 hasn’t 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 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.
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 the Aria nightclub Haze.
The famously glowing, always-open Las Vegas Strip was closed for some 15 hours after the crash. Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Kemmer recalled a similarly long closure after the 1996 drive-by slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur.
That shooting – involving assailants opening fire on Shakur’s luxury sedan from a vehicle on Flamingo Road – happened about a block from Thursday’s crash.
The Shakur killing has never been solved.