LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – A Las Vegas police officer was in his patrol car in the central valley late Sunday afternoon when a Nissan Maxima that appeared to be steering itself ran through a red light.
It was no ordinary traffic offense, Homicide Lt. Ray Steiber said.
The officer was startled as the Maxima continued south on Martin Luther King Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard, because there didn’t appear to be anyone in the driver’s seat.
Steiber said the officer tailed the Maxima with his patrol vehicle as the Maxima continued south. Then the Maxima jumped a median and crossed the northbound lanes into a landscape area near a church.
But the chase wasn’t over. The Maxima veered back onto Martin Luther King south in the northbound lanes, at which point it struck another vehicle. The collision occurred near Jimmy Avenue and Martin Luther King.
When the Maxima came to a stop, the officer peered inside and saw what the problem was: A man who was shot multiple times was slouched in the driver’s seat.
The unidentified man, who appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured in the crash.
The maroon Maxima had bullet holes in its driver’s side, Steiber said.
He added the man who was shot must have had his foot on the accelerator, and the haphazard chase lasted between 10 and 15 seconds after the Maxima drove through the intersection.
The incident occurred about 6:09 p.m.
Steiber said late Sunday night police had no witnesses, and no motive.
“We want to know what happened,” Steiber said. “We don’t know how long he had been unconscious. We don’t know how long prior to this coming to an end had he been shot.”
Steiber said police received 911 calls of gunshots just before the officer spotted the Maxima. The calls were made from north of the Martin Luther King, Lake Mead intersection.