A 31-year-old man from Illinois with no criminal history was motivated by a perceived vendetta when he fatally shot his ex-girlfriend in a lobby of a busy Strip resort last week, a Las Vegas police official said Tuesday.
Homicide Lt. Ray Steiber said Friday’s murder-suicide at the Excalibur was driven by a relationship gone sour. Edward Brandt, from Lake Forest, Ill., obsessed over the notion of getting even with 30-year-old Jessica Kenny, a woman he hadn’t dated for more than two years, according to police.
About 8:30 p.m. Friday, Brandt walked into the medieval-themed resort and shot Kenny multiple times with a .38-caliber revolver registered in his name. He then turned the gun on himself.
“He had conjured up some idea that she wronged him in the past,” Steiber said.
Steiber said the shooting, at the hotel-casino on the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, was an isolated incident.
He estimated that hundreds of people were inside the lobby when gunshots erupted.
Detectives spoke with dozens of witnesses during the investigation.
Kenny, of Las Vegas, worked for Vegas.com, and her job as a vendor at the hotel was to answer questions for guests. She was described by employees as “sweet” and “amazing.”
The last high-profile shooting inside a Strip casino occurred in 2007. Steven Zegrean opened fire at the New York-New York, unleashing a hail of bullets down on the casino floor and wounding four tourists.
Several bystanders tackled him, stopping the attack.
Zegrean was sentenced to 90 years in prison after being found guilty at trial.
Last week’s murder-suicide made national headlines. It came on the heels of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history. Twenty children and six adults were killed in the rampage by a gunman who had also killed his mother.
With people already on edge and mourning the carnage in Connecticut, Brandt’s actions caused predictable unease among tourists and locals alike.
Screaming people ran in all directions looking for safety as Brandt fired.
Steiber said earlier this week that violence on the Strip is rare. He said that with surveillance cameras and security guards at casinos, some armed, resorts are safe.
As debates occur nationally over gun control and improving treatment for those suffering mental health problems, Steiber said not much could be done to prevent the murder-suicide inside the Excalibur.
Steiber added that Friday’s shooting could have been a greater tragedy.
He said Brandt was committed to killing Kenny.
“He had every opportunity to shoot a multitude of people,” Steiber said. “He was only after her.”
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@
reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.