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Officials hope Las Vegas shooting suspect's arrest sends message

February 28, 2013 |  7:52 pm

Ammar HarrisAuthorities said they hope the arrest of the suspect in the Las Vegas Strip car crash sends a message.

The man was previously arrested on sexual assault and pandering, or pimping, charges, law enforcement sources said.

"I hope anyone out there watching understands clearly if you live in this city, if you work in this city, or you visit this city and act like this person, we will find you, we will prosecute you, and we will send you to prison," Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie told reporters in Las Vegas.

Ammar Harris, 26, was taken into custody by FBI agents and Los Angeles police about midday Thursday in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith confirmed to The Times. Las Vegas police confirmed the arrest.

Police and FBI agents said he was being held on suspicion of murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

PHOTOS: Shots fired on the Las Vegas strip

The Feb. 21 shooting and crash left three people dead, including Kenneth Cherry Jr., an Oakland native and rapper known as Kenny Clutch. Las Vegas police allege that Harris opened fire on Cherry's Maserati on Las Vegas Boulevard after an altercation at a valet stand at the Aria hotel resort.

The Maserati then sped into the intersection at Flamingo Road, where it rammed a Yellow Cab, officials said. The taxi exploded, killing the driver and passenger inside. Four other vehicles were involved in the fiery crash.

Both Cherry and a passenger in the Maserati were taken to an area hospital, where Cherry was pronounced dead, police said. Three other people were injured in the crash.

Interactive map: Shooting in Las Vegas

In a video released by Las Vegas police, a man believed to be Harris flashed a fistful of $100 bills as he bragged about the money. He also bragged about money, guns, expensive cars and run-ins with the law on his Twitter account, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The Twitter account reportedly has since been deleted.

The newspaper also reported that Harris boasted about women, alleging that he used social media to instruct prostitutes and recruit new girls.

Las Vegas police said a woman inside Harris' Range Rover at the time of the shooting had previously been arrested for soliciting prostitution. Sources told The Times that at least one other woman inside the vehicle had a similar record.

Las Vegas investigators suspected that Harris may have fled to California when they discovered that his phone records showed he was communicating with people in the state.

Harris is due in court Tuesday.


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-- Richard Winton, Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Ammar Harris. Source: Las Vegas Metro Police Department