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Las Vegas shooting: 'Kenny Clutch's' father tearfully defends son

The father of "Kenny Clutch," the Oakland rapper killed in a shooting and crash on the Las Vegas Strip, defended his son at a news conference as police named Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 26, as a suspect in the shooting

The father of "Kenny Clutch," the Oakland rapper killed in a shooting and crash on the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday, defended his son at a news conference as police named Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 26, as a suspect in the shooting.

Fighting back tears, Kenneth Cherry Sr., said Saturday that his son was a good person and was not responsible for what happened on the Strip. Even though his son, whose real name was Kenneth Cherry, performed some gangsta-style rap, he was not a thug, his father said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Cherry was killed early Thursday when bullets fired from a black Range Rover peppered his Maserati, authorities said.

Cherry's father and his attorney said Saturday that the rapper was unarmed.

"He was a victim just like any other victim," Cherry's father said, according to a video on the newspaper's website. "He was no different than any of you guys."

The elder Cherry was in Las Vegas to claim his son's body.

Family members in Oakland have also spoken out.

"Right now my heart is breaking," said Pat Sims, Cherry's aunt. "This has really been a tragedy. Kenny was just a delightful kid."

PHOTOS: Shots fired on the Las Vegas strip

"I can tell you this ... the world has lost a good man," Sims said. "I'm not saying he didn't have his faults, but he was very kind, especially to older people. Whatever happened in Vegas, I don't know about, but he was a very kind soul."

The younger Cherry's attorney, Vicki Greco, told the San Jose Mercury News that her client "was into gangsta rap, but that's not who he was."

"In my interaction with him, I can tell you that by the way he looked and what he put out there on his videos, he fit a certain stereotype," Greco said. "But I also can tell you that away from that, he was anything but that kind of stereotype. He was honest. He was loyal. He was very dependable. Sometimes he'd drop by my office just to say hello. He was a nice, nice kid."

INTERACTIVE MAP: Shooting in Las Vegas

Authorities said Cherry and the Range Rover had left the Aria resort hotel and were heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard at 4:20 a.m., a time when the casino marquees shine bright but the gambling thoroughfare is largely empty. At Harmon Avenue, people in the Range Rover opened fire on Cherry's Maserati, police said.

The silver-gray sports car, which was struck several times, sped into the intersection at Flamingo Road, ramming a taxi, officials said. The taxi exploded, killing the driver and a passenger. Four other vehicles in the intersection were also involved in the crash and explosion, but police offered no details about them.

Cherry died later at a hospital.

No arrests have been made.

"This is something you never want to go through," Cherry's father told KNTV. "This is the hardest thing in my life right now, because you never want your children to leave before you leave."

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-- Kate Mather and Shelby Grad

Photo: Kenny Clutch. Credit: KTLA

 
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