The man responsible for a fiery crash and shooting that killed three people on the Las Vegas Strip in February will face the death penalty, Las Vegas prosecutors announced yesterday.
Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 27, a self-described pimp, was arrested on Feb. 28 in Los Angeles and is being held in a Las Vegas jail. The district attorney filed the notice of intent to seek the death penalty yesterday after a special panel recommended that action, according to a report in The Las Vegas Sun.
Harris is accused of shooting out of a black Range Rover into a Maserati sports car, mortally wounding driver Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., an aspiring rapper. The Maserati then crashed into a taxi that exploded into flames, killing cab driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, of Maple Valley, Wash.
Cherry, 27, had released a video under the name Kenny Clutch. Cherry’s family members said he moved from the Bay Area to Las Vegas to pursue a music career. In the YouTube video for his song, “Stay Schemin,” scenes of the Las Vegas Strip hotels flash on the screen as Cherry raps about paying $120,000 for his Maserati.
In one verse he says, “One mistake change lives all in one night.”
According to witnesses of the crash, upon collision the taxi was transformed into a fireball, trapping driver Boldon and passenger Sutton-Wasmund inside, killing them. Freddy Walters, a passenger in the Maserati with Cherry, was taken to the hospital and survived, as did two occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash.
Police say after the crash and shooting, Harris sped away in the Range Rover, which had out-of-state dealer plates and large black rims.
The shooting began around 4:30 a.m. on the mostly deserted Strip, and continued as the cars approached the popular intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas boulevards.
A local TV station interviewed a witness who said he rushed to the Maserati moments after the crash and found the driver still alive.
“The Range Rover shot at the Maserati,” one witness told local television. “There was a big explosion with three other cars. I ran over to help the dude in the Maserati, to give him CPR. He was still breathing. Then the ambulance came. I don’t think he made it.”
According to authorities, the intersection is the Strip’s busiest, the location of the Bellagio and the Paris hotels and Caesars Palace. The intersection was littered with smashed cars pointing in different directions.
It was the third incident of violence on the Strip this year: Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage on Feb. 6, and a tourist was stabbed in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay on Feb. 16.
Harris is charged with three murders as well as the attempted murder of Walters, the passenger in the Maserati.
Harris and Cherry had exchanged angry words at a casino valet stand, and then sped away with tires squealing up the Strip.
Tehran Boldon, the younger brother of Michael Boldon, told the Las Vegas Sun that Harris has “shown no remorse, and he needs to be made example of.”
“Hopefully it will send a message to people like him that think it’s a game,” he said “I would hate to think that he could outlive me when I don’t think he should be living at all.”
In 2010 Harris was arrested in Vegas and charged with pandering, kidnapping, sexual assault and coercion, but the charges were dropped. However, after his arrest in this case, a witness re-emerged and a jury indicted him in April on three counts of sexual assault and one count of robbery related to the 2010 arrest.