LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man sitting at the back of a public bus on the Las Vegas Strip opened fire “for no apparent reason” as passengers got off at a stop in the heart of the tourism corridor, police said Sunday.
Gary Breitling, 57, of Sidney, Montana, was shot and killed Saturday before the gunman barricaded himself in the vehicle, shutting down the Strip for hours, the Clark County coroner’s office said. He died at a hospital.
Rolando Cardenas, 55, has been accused in the shooting, and he surrendered peacefully after a standoff inside the double-decker bus that lasted more than four hours, police said.
He was booked into jail on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, burglary and opening fire on the bus. An attorney for him could not immediately be found. Attempts to reach his family were unsuccessful.
The bus had stopped on the Strip near the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino and passengers were leaving when Cardenas stood up and fired several rounds from a handgun, police said. The man didn’t fire all of his bullets, but he did shoot at police during the barricade. Police said they didn’t fire any shots.
Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts also said that authorities believe Cardenas may have had “mental issues.”
Another victim was shot in the stomach and was hospitalized but is expected to live. Both victims were seated in the back with Cardenas, police said.
It was not known how many people were on the bus at the time of the shooting, but the bystanders and the victims had fled. Police have started a hotline seeking to hear what those passengers witnessed.
Because authorities did not know if more victims were inside, crisis negotiators, robots and armored vehicles surrounded the bus. Officers swept into casinos to warn tourists to hunker down until further notice, leaving the normally bustling pedestrian areas and a road notorious for taxi-to-taxi traffic completely empty.
Visitors also hid out inside some of the other prominent hotel-casino properties nearby, including the Bellagio, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Bally’s, which also hold restaurants, shops and attractions.