Brett Clarkson and Sabrina Schnur
Las Vegas Review-Journal
LAS VEGAS — Two people were killed and six others were injured in a series of stabbings in front of a Strip casino Thursday.
Police received reports of the stabbing on the 3100 block of Las Vegas Boulevard South just after 11:40 a.m., according to Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief James LaRochelle.
LaRochelle said a man started stabbing people, with no altercation beforehand, while running through sidewalks on the Las Vegas Strip.
Video from the area showed the man in his early 30s running down Las Vegas Boulevard toward Sands Boulevard after, LaRochelle said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
LaRochelle said the man was not a resident of Las Vegas, and he was detained by Sands security guards moments later.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said both locals and tourists were injured in the stabbing. Lombardo said they hoped the get the area open again later Thursday afternoon, and there were no missing suspects.
“We wanted to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the victims themselves,” LaRochelle said. “This is clearly a very tragic and hard to understand, hard to comprehend murder investigation that deeply impacts our community.”
A spokesman for University Medical Center said five people were taken to the hospital. One died after getting to the hospital, one was critically wounded and two others were in serious condition.
A large kitchen knife was found at the scene, LaRochelle said.
“As you can imagine, we have scores of witnesses to continue to get statements from and we have a number of video surveillance we have to get through in the immediate future,” LaRochelle said during the press conference.
Pierre Fandrich, a French-speaking tourist from Montreal, said he was near a pedestrian bridge outside Wynn Las Vegas when he saw a group of three to four women dressed as showgirls on the Wynn side of the pedestrian bridge.
“He thought it was laughing at first but then he heard it was screaming, actually,” said another Montreal tourist, Maxime Wallace, who translated for Fandrich.
“There was one showgirl on the ground,” Fandrich said through the translator. “There was another showgirl on top of her, trying to help her friend. She seemed to be stabbed in the back, but she didn’t notice because she was helping the other showgirl.”
Fandrich said he did not see the suspect, but about 100 feet from the girls another person was on the ground suffering from injuries on the bridge.
“There was a lot of blood on the ground,” Fandrich said through Wallace.
Video provided to the Review-Journal showed two women in bright-red showgirl dresses being taken to ambulances in stretchers rolled down Las Vegas Boulevard.
A spokesman for nearby Fashion Show mall said the mall was not affected by the stabbing, and Wynn officials deferred to Metro for information.
Spring Mountain Road and Sands Avenue were closed for several hours near Las Vegas Boulevard while officers investigated.
Local politicians took to Twitter to share their concern Thursday afternoon.
“Our tourists must feel safe when they visit Las Vegas,” U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev. wrote just before 2 p.m.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak echoed the statement, saying he wanted to make sure the Strip was welcoming and safe for visitors.
“At the State level, we will continue to work with partners in law enforcement to make resources available on the ground and ensure the Las Vegas Strip remains a safe and welcoming place for all to visit,” Sisolak wrote.
Attorney General Aaron Ford thanked first responders for their work in what the attorney general’s office called a “senseless attack.”
“Attorney General @AaronDFordNV and the entire Office of the Attorney General are appalled by today’s tragedy and are thinking of the victims and their families,” the statement read.