LAS VEGAS — Police on Friday searched for a Range Rover with dark tinted windows and custom rims that set off a fiery crash on the Las Vegas Strip when someone in the luxury SUV opened fire on a Maserati driven by an aspiring rapper.
Kenneth Cherry’s great aunt, Patricia Sims, of Oakland, Calif., told The Associated Press that Cherry’s parents were flying to Las Vegas to claim their 27-year-old son’s body.
“Right now my heart is breaking,” Sims said. “This has really been a tragedy. Kenny was just a delightful kid.”
Sims, 75, said Cherry recently moved to Las Vegas from Northern California, though she didn’t know her nephew was a rapper using the name Kenny Clutch. Cherry was particularly close with his 106-year-old grandmother.
“I haven’t been able to tell her,” Sims said.
A taxi driver and his female passenger also were killed when the cab they were in was hit and exploded in flames early Thursday.
The cab driver, Michael Boldon, 62, was a father and grandfather with a passion for fast cars, his older sister, Carolyn Jean Trimble, told the AP.
Boldon was born and raised in Michigan and had been driving taxis since he moved to Las Vegas about 1 1/2 years ago. He loved watching car races and drove a Mercedes when he wasn’t in a cab.
“Everybody just loved him,” Trimble said. “When that car hit that cab, Mike had to be in there talking and laughing.”
At least six other people, including a passenger in the Maserati, were injured in what marked the latest in a series of violent episodes in Las Vegas in recent months.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie told reporters the shooting was sparked by an argument in the valet area of the nearby Aria hotel-casino, and it traveled to one of the busiest intersections on the Las Vegas Strip. As bullets flew from the Range Rover, the Maserati ran a red light and smashed into the taxi.
Three more cars and a utility truck also collided as the Range Rover sped off in the darkness at about 4:30 a.m.
Police didn’t release the names of the people involved but said the Maserati passenger was cooperating with police.
“We have numerous witnesses to this,” Sgt. John Sheahan said. “But what is the genesis of this? We don’t know yet.”
Las Vegas police officer Jose Hernandez said Friday that the Range Rover was being sought in Nevada and the neighboring states of California, Utah and Arizona. It had a car dealer’s advertisement in place of a license plate.
The effects of the shooting and crashes were felt hours later as the Strip remained closed, snarling traffic, until it reopened late Thursday.
“The people I feel sorry for are the people in the taxi,” said Elvina Joyce, a tourist from Regina, Saskatchewan. “Seconds made all the difference in the world for them. Wrong place, wrong time.”
The irony that a sports car would end the life of a man with such a love for fancy vehicles wasn’t lost on Boldon’s sister.
“He would have been tickled to death: ‘Damn, of all things, a Maserati hit me, took me out like that,”‘ Trimble said. “I’m happy he didn’t suffer.”
The area near the shooting and crash has been the site of high-profile violence in the past.
Rapper Tupac Shakur was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996 about a block away under similar circumstances, as assailants opened fire on his luxury sedan from a vehicle on Flamingo Road. The killing has never been solved.
Las Vegas has had several violent episodes in recent months.
Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage Feb. 6, and a tourist was stabbed Feb. 16 in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.
On New Year’s Eve at Circus Circus, a man pulled out a revolver and fired it into the ground just off the main floor of the casino. Less than two weeks earlier, a woman allegedly slashed the face of a blackjack dealer at the Bellagio.