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Suspect strikes plea deal in shootout at Las Vegas hookah lounge

Updated May 18, 2022 - 11:24 am

A 44-year-old man indicted on attempted murder charges in connection with a February shootout at a hookah lounge pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a weapons charge.

Up to five people opened fire during the Feb. 26 mass shooting that killed one person and injured 13 others at Manny’s Glow Ultra Lounge & Restaurant, an unlicensed business at 953 E. Sahara Ave. Lee Wilson remains the only person arrested in connection with the shooting, but his attorney said Tuesday that Wilson was a victim of the gunfire.

“A full and thorough investigation of the details of this incident clearly revealed Mr. Wilson was not a ‘mass shooter’ as has been widely reported,” defense attorney Josh Tomsheck said in a statement.

During a March court hearing, Wilson told a judge he was shot six times in the shootout. Tomsheck said Wilson, who appeared in court in a wheelchair on Wednesday, is still undergoing medical treatment and had surgery for his injuries “as recently as this week.”

Tomsheck said the man killed in the shooting, 33-year-old Demetreus Beard, was one of Wilson’s friends.

Wilson originally faced a murder charge in the case but was indicted in April on 12 counts of attempted murder, two counts of discharging a gun from within a structure or vehicle, and one count of being a felon in possession of a gun.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the felony weapons charge and agreed to a sentence of between one year, nine months and four years, six months in prison, although a judge will have the final say on the penalty. Wilson only admitted to possessing a gun during the shootout.

After accepting the guilty plea, District Judge Kathleen Delaney lowered Wilson’s bail from $500,000 to $75,000. He will be placed on intensive supervision if he is released from custody, she said.

Prosecutor Leah Beverly did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said Tuesday that the shooting could have resulted in more lives lost. He said officers carrying tourniquets saved multiple people who were shot.

Spencer said police are continuing to investigate.

“We’ve identified who we believe are the players, the people involved, but it’s still ongoing,” he said.

Witnesses who testified to a grand jury in March described the party atmosphere at the hookah lounge that turned to chaos as bullets erupted. One woman said she was attending a birthday party when shots rang out.

Another witness said Beard was sitting on a couch with his girlfriend when he was shot in the head. He died at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, the Clark County coroner’s office has said.

Police previously said that they identified Wilson using witnesses and his own Facebook page, which showed him attending a “pre-party” that some of the shooting victims had attended before continuing to the party at the lounge. Surveillance video from the scene showed a man who looked like Wilson walking toward a group of people after the shooting had erupted.

“The subject extended his arm as if he appeared to be firing a handgun” before fleeing, police wrote in his arrest report.

In March, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure said Wilson had a “significant” criminal history, including 82 arrests in Clark County since 1995 and nine felony convictions.

Tomsheck said that as part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek habitual criminal treatment for Wilson, which would allow the court to issue a longer sentence.

A sentencing hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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