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Henderson WWII vet, 101, hurt in crash involving robbery suspect

Updated March 7, 2023 - 6:25 pm

A 101-year-old World War II Army veteran suffered a broken neck last week, his family said, when a robbery suspect crashed into his car shortly before a police shooting in Henderson.

“He’s stable, but he’s unresponsive,” Herbert Muskin’s son, Drew Muskin, told the Review-Journal on Tuesday.

Herbert Muskin, who turned 101 in July, grew up in Long Island, New York, and served in the Army as a captain during World War II, his son said. He then worked as an orthodontist until his 80s, when he retired and moved to Henderson with his wife, Sherry Muskin.

He was driving home after a trip to Costco with his wife on Wednesday and was stopped at a red light near Sunset Road and Stephanie Street when the crash happened. Sherry Muskin said the armed robbery suspect slammed into the back of their car, pushing it into a pole, injuring her husband and causing a fracture in his neck.

Kassandra Alvarez, 29, had been speeding away from cops in a stolen vehicle after she and Lorraine Alvarado, 32, robbed a business in the 4600 block of West Sahara Avenue, prosecutors said. Alvarez reached speeds of 80 to 100 mph before crashing into the Muskins’ vehicle. After the crash, Alvarado pointed a gun at officers and was shot, police have said.

On Tuesday, a Las Vegas judge raised bail for Alvarez after Chief Deputy District Attorney John Giordani criticized a lower bail amount set during a hearing last week.

During an initial court appearance Friday, Hearing Master Daniel Westmeyer ordered Alvarado to be held in custody without bail and ordered a $55,000 bail for Alvarez.

Giordani called Alvarez’s bail amount “ridiculous” during Tuesday’s hearing.

“Bail should be set in the amount of at least $1 million,” he said. “And I understand she probably can’t make that, and I’m asking for essentially detention, but that is the least restrictive means to protect our community.”

More details of alleged crime

Giordani said he was ready to call on witnesses to the shooting during Tuesday’s hearing, which was attended by multiple police officers and Steve Grammas, the president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association union.

Judge Harmony Letizia raised Alvarez’s bail to $750,000, after noting that Giordani provided further allegations that were not covered in police documents and might not have been explained during the initial appearance, when a different prosecutor discussed bail in front of Westmeyer.

Giordani said that Alvarez had a loaded gun on her when she and Alvarado walked into the business and attempted to shoplift items. Alvarado then took the gun from Alvarez and the two robbed the store, he said.

Alvarez then drove away with Alvarado and a third woman, 39-year-old Mary Nolan, while the store’s employees called police, Giordani said. Officers caught up to the women at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, but Alvarez sped away, police said.

Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff James Seebock said Monday that officers chased Alvarez onto U.S. Highway 95 toward Henderson and tried to stop her again with a tire deflation device, which she drove over. Alvarez then got off the highway and sped down Sunset Road, crashing into the vehicle being driven by the 101-year-old man, Giordani said.

“His neck is broken, he might die and she might be facing first-degree murder charges very soon,” he said.

While Giordani explained the details of the alleged crime and the man’s injuries, Alvarez appeared shocked, and she shook her head and placed both hands over her mouth.

Two officers fired a total of 16 rounds at Alvarado after she pointed a gun at police, Seebock said during a news conference Monday. Alvarado did not fire the gun. She was in critical condition as of Monday, remained hospitalized Tuesday and did not appear in court, Seebock said.

Nolan was initially arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a nonfelony crime, but prosecutors dropped the charge last week, court records show.

Giordani declined to say why the charge against Nolan was dropped.

Alvarez’s attorney, Anthony Goldstein, said he was appointed to represent Alvarez minutes before the hearing started on Tuesday and asked for the right to argue for a different bail in the future, after he reviews the case. He said there was no clear indication that prosecutors didn’t give Westmeyer all the details of the alleged crime before he ordered the $55,000 bail.

“We’re only assuming that Judge Westmeyer didn’t get the full picture, and I don’t think that’s a fair assumption at the expense of my client,” Goldstein said.

He declined to comment on the case following Tuesday’s hearing.

Her ‘one and only’

Giordani said Alvarez has a criminal history dating back to 2011, when she was convicted of a misdemeanor battery charge. She has since pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor petit larceny charge, gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit assault and conspiracy to possess a stolen vehicle, and felony counts of burglary and unlawfully taking a vehicle, according to court records.

She is also currently facing a felony grand larceny of a motor vehicle charge in a separate case, court records show.

Letizia noted that Alvarez had failed to come to court seven times in the past. She said that Alvarez and Alvarado were “a danger to everyone” during the alleged crimes.

“They were frankly lucky that only one person was hit. They could have wreaked havoc on so many individuals and ruined a lot of lives that day,” Letizia said.

Sherry Muskin, 82, said Tuesday that she’s been married to Herbert Muskin for 57 years. She’s in pain herself following the crash but continues to watch over him at the hospital.

She said her husband is very active for his age and still runs errands, drives and plays blackjack at local casinos nearly every day. She called Herbert Muskin her “one and only.”

“I can’t imagine what he’s going through,” she said.

Drew Muskin said it’s unclear if his father will be able to recover from the crash, and he currently can’t communicate with his family.

“They’re not saying because of his age and the injury,” he said. “They don’t know.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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