Police: Man arrested in random Las Vegas stabbings; 1 dead

Police: Man arrested in random Las Vegas stabbings; 1 dead

LAS VEGAS — Authorities arrested the man suspected in the seemingly random Las Vegas knife attacks that left one man dead and another bleeding in an alley Wednesday, police said.

Richi Briones, 32, was taken into custody at a bus stop at about 7 p.m., police said in a news release. Briones’ car was found abandoned about 20 miles (32 kilometres) away.

A man escaped without injury in the first attack at about 9:30 a.m. east of downtown Las Vegas, police said.

After the first victim ran away, Briones tried without success to buy a shotgun at a nearby sporting goods store, police Lt. Dan McGrath said.

Officer Michael Rodriguez, a department spokesman, said he didn’t immediately know why the sale wasn’t completed.

At 10:15 a.m., a man wielding a large knife wounded a man in an alley behind a sushi restaurant. The victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2pTuHYW).

The fatal attack came when Briones stabbed a gas station convenience store customer from behind several times, McGrath said. The customer was taken to the hospital, where he later died. Authorities have not yet released the victim’s name pending family notification.

“It was very random,” McGrath said.

At least one store clerk and several other customers were in the store at the time of the killing, Rodriguez said, and police recovered security camera footage. The video will not be made public until a court decides whether it should be released, Rodriguez said.

Police identified Briones as the suspect from the application he submitted for the shotgun.

According to court records, Briones underwent a mental evaluation before a state court judge ruled in January that he was competent to face a felony auto theft charge.

The case was dismissed in February by a judge after a preliminary hearing of evidence, records show.

A prosecutor and public defender involved in the case weren’t immediately identified, and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to comment.

Briones was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2015, and was last arrested a few weeks ago on domestic violence charges in California, McGrath told the newspaper.

Ken Ritter, The Associated Press

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