LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – A busy portion of the Las Vegas Strip was shut down Saturday afternoon as police worked to end a standoff situation with a man barricaded on a Regional Transit bus following a shooting that left one person dead and another wounded, according to authorities.
Las Vegas Boulevard was closed between Flamingo Road and Harmon Avenue following the shooting that happened on the bus in front of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on the 3700 block of Las Vegas Boulevard around 10:48 a.m. Saturday, Las Vegas Metro Police spokesman Larry Hadfield said.
Hadfield said two victims of the shooting were transported to University Medical Center, where one was pronounced dead a short time later. University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen said the surviving victim was in fair condition Saturday afternoon.
The male gunman remained on the bus while members of the LVMPD SWAT team as well as tactical and hostage negotiations officers worked to end the standoff. The situation concluded around 3:20 p.m. when the gunman surrendered without incident.
“He was on the bus. He was shooting people on the bus. He was just contained to that location. He never exited the bus,” Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said.
Hadfield said there was no immediately known motive behind the shooting and there was no shooting or imminent danger present at any point inside any of the surrounding casinos on the Strip.
Police said they believe the armed man on the bus is the only suspect and that they have ruled out terrorism or any relationship to an earlier robbery nearby that shut down a part of the Bellagio hotel-casino.
For hours, crisis negotiators, robots and armored vehicles surrounded the bus with authorities uncertain if there were any more victims inside. Meanwhile, officers swept into the casinos to warn tourists to bunker down until further notice, leaving these normally bustling pedestrian areas and a road notorious for taxi-to-taxi traffic completely empty. The Strip was shut down for blocks in both directions.
Some in the Cosmopolitan — hotel guests out over their balconies, party people on the pool deck — saw the tense situation unfold below.
Former NBA player Scot Pollard, who is staying at the Cosmopolitan, told The Associated Press by phone that he was at a bar at the hotel-casino around 11 a.m. when he saw several people, including staff, running through the area toward the casino and repeatedly screaming “get out of the way.”
After he was told that the area would be closed, he went back to his room, which oversees the Strip.
“We can hear them negotiating. We can hear them saying things like ‘No one else needs to get hurt,’ ‘Come out with your hands up. We are not going anywhere. We are not leaving,’ ” he said.
Visitors were also hiding out inside some of the other prominent casino properties affected, including the Bellagio, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Bally, which in addition to hotels and casinos also hold restaurants, shops and attractions.
By 4 p.m., pedestrians were back in the area and northbound traffic on Las Vegas boulevard had reopened while investigators worked to clean up the other lane where the bus was still grounded.
The bus is operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. The agency said its bus driver was not hurt.
Associated Press writer Regina Garcia Cano and photographer John Locher contributed.