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Vegas crash victim's brother decries criminals' access to guns

March 4, 2013 |  4:15 pm

The brother of a taxi driver killed in a crash on the Las Vegas Strip said he wants the suspect in the case  punished -- and stiffer gun control to keep weapons out of the hands of people with criminal pasts.

Michael Boldon, 62, died Feb. 21 after suspect Ammar Harris, a self-described pimp, allegedly shot and killed Oakland rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr. after an altercation at the Aria Casino. Cherry's Maserati crashed into a cab, which exploded in flames, killing Boldon and a passenger, Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, according to prosecutors.

Dressed in black from head to toe, Tehran Boldon, the victim's brother, sat in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Monday and stared intensely at Harris, who was captured last week in Studio City.

PHOTOS: Shots fired on the Las Vegas Strip

"He was an innocent bystander. He wasn't a pimp or rapper. He was a man earning a living caring for his family," said Tehran Boldon of his brother, who moved to Las Vegas two years ago to help take care of their ailing 93-year-old mother.

Tehran Boldon listened as a Los Angeles judge ordered Harris to appear again March 14 for a hearing as authorities in Las Vegas seek to have him extradited.

"That would have been Michael's 63rd birthday," Tehran Boldon said. "His family isn't going to go away. We are going to keep coming until justice is served."

Interactive map: Shooting in Las Vegas

Tehran Boldon says he wants to know why Harris, with multi-state criminal record, was still carrying a gun.

"There are too many violent felons out there with guns," he said. "We need legislation to eliminate assault weapons and stop guns from getting into the hands of violent criminals, and we need to stop giving in to the gun lobby."

Authorities have described Harris as a violent and dangerous criminal with convictions in South Carolina and Georgia. He had also been arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of sexual assault and pandering with force, Las Vegas police said.

Police have yet to say whether they have retrieved the weapon used in the killings. Tehran Boldon said detectives have not provided the family with any details of the investigation.

"Las Vegas attracts people with a certain kind of bravado, the kind that leads to stupid and horrific acts like this," Tehran Boldon said. 

Harris and Cherry Jr. had twice exchanged words before the shooting. The first incident was captured on video at the Aria Casino valet stand, where Harris was seen confronting Cherry. Moments later, he was captured on video yelling at the rapper as they drove in separate cars along the Strip, according to an arrest warrant.

Las Vegas Metro Police used videos from casinos, a dashboard taxi camera and interviews to reconstruct the movements of Harris and Cherry before the shooting, the document said.

After the shooting, Harris fled the scene in a Range Rover, leaving behind several other motorists injured in the crash, authorities said.

Harris was arrested Thursday at a Studio City apartment. He had already been charged, in absentia, with  murder, attempted murder, discharging a firearm out of a vehicle and firing a weapon into a vehicle.

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-- Richard Winton

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