Rio Casino Car Park Shooting Is Among Latest in Vegas Violent Crime Wave

Update: A second shooting incident occurred after a fight broke out on the casino floor of The Venetian early Monday morning. Two groups of men confronted each other outside after security officers removed them from the gambling property. A struggle over a gun carried by one of the men caused it to go off and hit another in the abdomen.

The hospitalized victim is now in a critical but stable condition. The gunman and another man, both of whom fled the area at the time, are now in police custody.

Shot in the early hours

In one of the latest examples of violent crime in Las Vegas, police discovered a shooting victim in the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, police found an injured man at around 2:50am on Saturday morning. Authorities attended the scene after hearing reports of a shooting in the off-Strip casino’s parking lot.

man is in a critical condition but expected to survive

First responders took the victim to hospital where medics are treating him for at least one gunshot wound. According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Lieutenant Jesse Roybal, the man is in a critical condition but expected to survive.

Police are currently conducting an investigation into the incident. They are yet to release any information regarding a suspect or motive.

Recent spike in Vegas crime

Last year, Las Vegas saw a significant rise in violent crime. According to Clark County sheriff Joe Lombardo, violent crime on the Strip and Las Vegas Boulevard was up 4% year-on-year through October 2020. Other crimes such as sexual assault were actually down.

A significant number of these violent crimes occurred in or around Las Vegas casinos. In October 2020, a man discharged a round from his gun on the MGM Grand casino floor during a dispute with another bettor. The following month, a shooting left three people wounded at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino on the Strip.

Visitors to the region caused a large portion of these crimes. Over the past two years, California residents made up 40% of suspects or victims in felony crimes. Speaking with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Lombardo said gang members and ex-convicts made up the vast majority of these visitor offenders.

Lombardo attributed the recent spike in violent crime to a number of factors, with the effects of the pandemic playing a primary role. “Bad behaviour, anxiety, unemployment, the inability to blow off steam is causing a lot of this to occur,” the sheriff explained.

Operation Persistent Pressure

In response to the spike, the LVMPD upped its efforts to crack down on violent crime towards the end of 2020. Last September, police launched Operation Persistent Pressure with the aim of reducing violent crime in the region. This saw an increased police presence overnight every Friday and Saturday through late December. The LVMPD also increased the number of undercover, tactical, and traffic units.

disorderly conduct, assault, battery, robbery, and illegal shooting

Police arrested a total of 1,229 people and confiscated 64 guns on the Strip during the three-month operation. Among the charges were disorderly conduct, assault, battery, robbery, and illegal shooting. Police Captain Dori Koren of the LVMPD said the operation was particularly successful in tackling tourist crime in the area. She added that the number of shootings fell 54% from October to December as a result.

The spike in crime also caused some of the region’s casinos to ramp up security efforts. In October last year, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas increased its weekend overnight security. This included the addition of metal detection checkpoints at the casino’s entrances with police surveillance. According to a statement from the casino, the measures would remain in place for the “foreseeable future”.

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