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Five Unhoused People in Las Vegas Shot by Lone Suspect, Police Say

Five unhoused people were shot in Las Vegas on Friday, one of them fatally, and police were searching for a lone suspect, authorities said.

The shooting occurred around 5:30pm near a freeway overpass in the north-eastern part of the city, according to Lt Mark Lourenco of the Las Vegas metropolitan police department.

“We believe this is an isolated event,” Lourenco responded in a text message when asked about the situation.

A police commander initially said two people had been killed, but police departmentspokesperson Jason Johansson later said at a briefing that one man in his 50s had been pronounced dead and another was in critical condition, while three others were in stable condition.

“Right now we are trying to figure out what exactly happened during the shooting. The information we have is kind of conflicting,” Johansson said.

One shooter was involved, but a suspect had not been captured, Lourenco said on Friday evening.

The shooting comes after police in Los Angeles announced Friday they are searching for a suspect in the fatal shootings of three unhoused people in separate incidents last week.

The Los Angeles police department has set up a task force of investigators after the three men were shot and killed in pre-dawn hours as they were sleeping. Each man was alone when he was shot, said the Los Angeles police chief, Michael Moore, on Friday.

In the wake of the Los Angeles killings, mayor Karen Bass urged Los Angeles’s 46,000 unhoused people to avoid being alone at night.

“This news is devastating to our city,” Bass said at a news conference. “Living in the streets is dangerous, and four to five people die in our streets from a range of causes and violence is certainly one of them.”

Despite widespread misperceptions that unhoused people are responsible for the majority of big-city crime, research shows that they are more likely to be victims of assault, robbery and homicide than people who are housed. In 2022, unhoused people made up 24% of that city’s homicide victims despite making up just 1% of the population, according to an NBC 4 Los Angeles investigation. And four of the seven people killed in a string of homicides in Stockton in 2022 were unhoused at the time, reported KCRA, Sacramento’s NBC affiliate.

George Gascón, the Los Angeles county district attorney, said during a press conference on Friday: “These are some of the most vulnerable people in our community and are being singled out – it appears to be – because of their status.”

Source: The Guardian