A woman intentionally swerved her car onto a busy sidewalk two or three times Sunday and mowed people down outside a Las Vegas casino, killing one person and injuring at least 30 others, police said. They said terrorism isn’t suspected, but they believe that it was an intentional act and that the suspect “went up and off these streets, two or possibly three times,” police Lt. Dan McGrath said. Officials have not cited a possible motive.
Officers on Monday identified the suspect as 24-year-old Oregon resident Lakeisha Holloway. Her vehicle was in the northbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard near Bellagio Way when it ran up onto the sidewalk at about 6:30 p.m. in front of the Paris Hotel & Casino and struck pedestrians, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Peter Boffelli said. The person killed was an adult, he said.
Police described Holloway as living homeless. She is being held in Clark County jail, with murder and other charges pending.
“This is a huge tragedy that has happened on our Strip,” Boffelli said.
The crash in front of the Paris and Planet Hollywood hotels occurred on a busy stretch of the Las Vegas Strip across from the dancing water fountains of the Bellagio hotel-casino, where visitors often crowd sidewalks as they walk from one casino to another. The Miss Universe pageant was being held nearby at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino at the time of the crash.
Police are reviewing video from casino-hotel surveillance cameras, Capt. Brett Zimmerman said. “We know this was not an act of terrorism,“ he said. "We will comb through that footage to get a detailed idea of what occurred.”
After the crash, the vehicle continued to head east on Flamingo Road before it was found at a hotel, McGrath said. The driver was taken into custody at the hotel, police said. A 3-year-old child was in the vehicle but was not hurt, Zimmerman said.
McGrath said the 1996 Oldsmobile was registered in Oregon and the driver had recently moved to the area. The pedestrians were not in the road and were not at fault, McGrath said.
“The car was like a bowling ball and the human bodies were like pins,” said witness Rabia Qureshi.
Justin Cochrane, a property manager from Santa Barbara, California, said he was having dinner at a sidewalk restaurant outside the Paris hotel.
The car appeared to be going 30 to 40 mph when it first hit the pedestrians on Las Vegas Boulevard, he said. “It was just massacring people,” he added.
The vehicle then went farther down the road and drove back into another crowd of pedestrians on the sidewalk, he said.
Cochrane said he couldn't understand why the car went into the crowd a second time. “Why would it slow to go around and then accelerate again?” he said. “I thought it's a crazy person.”
Cochrane said he saw children and adults injured and on the ground as the car drove away.
Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said the call for help came in at 6:38 p.m. and 70 emergency workers were sent to the scene.
Those in critical condition were treated at University Medical Center, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center and Spring Valley Hospital.
Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center spokeswoman Stacy Acquista said the center has treated 13 people, including nine men and four women. So far, 10 have been treated and released, but three were downgraded from good to fair condition and would remain hospitalized.
Danita Cohen, spokeswoman for University Medical Center, said that 15 crash victims were brought into the trauma center, and that one of them died. Three remained in critical condition as of 11 p.m. Two others were treated and released.
The nine patients who remained in serious condition included an 11-year-old child. The others were adults. Some were from Montreal and needed a French translator.
Spring Valley Hospital spokeswoman Gretchen Papez said three people had received care for minor injuries and were being discharged as of 10:50 p.m.
On Oct. 24, a woman was accused of driving into a crowd during Oklahoma State's homecoming parade in Stillwater. Four people were killed, including a 2-year-old boy, and more than 40 were hurt. The driver, 25-year-old Adacia Chambers of Stillwater, was this month found competent to stand trial on four counts of second-degree murder and 46 counts of assault.
In September 2005, three tourists were killed and nearly a dozen injured when a car barreled through the crowd on the Las Vegas Strip and crashed into a cement barrier in front of Bally's casino.
The Associated Press