LAS VEGAS -- Rolling gunfire between two cars on The Strip early Thursday left three people dead and three others injured and led to multiple vehicles crashing at the popular intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas boulevards, police said.
The shootout began shortly before 4:30 a.m., when occupants of a black SUV began firing at a Maserati as the vehicles drove along the mostly deserted avenue of casinos. As the shootout reached the crossing of Las Vegas and Flamingo, the cars ran a light and the Maserati collided with a taxi.
The taxi burst into flames, killing the driver and passenger. The driver of the Maserati was also killed and the vehicle’s passenger was taken to the hospital. In all, five vehicles were involved in the crash and more people may be hurt, police said.
The SUV fled the scene and Las Vegas authorities are searching for the vehicle, which is described as a black Range Rover Sport with out-of-state dealer plates.
Police said they were reviewing surveillance cameras along The Strip to get a better description of the driver and how many occupants were in the vehicle.
The intersection of Las Vegas and Flamingo boulevards is closed to traffic in all directions, snarling rush hour traffic.
Sgt. John Sheahan of the Las Vegas Police Department said the intersection will be closed for most of the day.
“It’s a mess down there,” he told TV reporters. “We’ll be lucky to have this intersection cleared by sundown.”
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,” he said. “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.”
Authorities said the intersection is The Strip’s busiest, including the Bellagio, the Paris and Caesars Palace.
Television images on Thursday morning showed the intersection littered with smashed cars pointing in different directions. Bystanders said the cab erupted into a ball of flames.
The crash is the latest violent outburst on The Strip this year. Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage Feb. 6, and a tourist was stabbed in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay on Feb. 16.