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2 Las Vegans killed in Strip stabbings; suspect identified

Updated October 6, 2022 - 11:49 pm

Two Las Vegans were killed and six other people were injured in a bizarre stabbing spree on the Strip late Thursday morning.

Yoni Barrios, 32, was booked into Clark County Detention Center on two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder, police announced late Thursday.

“This was an isolated incident,” said Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief James LaRochelle in a statement. “All evidence indicates Barrios acted alone and there are no outstanding suspects at this time.”

Barrios was detained by Sands security guards and Metro officers after stabbing people while running on a Strip sidewalk. The man is not a Las Vegas resident, LaRochelle said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Police do not believe there was an altercation that precipitated the attacks, but they continue to investigate.

The Clark County coroner’s office late Thursday identified the two who were killed as Las Vegans Brent Allan Hallett, 47, and Maris Mareen Digiovanni, 30. The identities of those wounded have not been released.

The attack came five years and five days after the Route 91 Harvest festival massacre resulted in 60 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries on the Strip across from Mandalay Bay.

LaRochelle said Metro first received a report of a stabbing in the 3100 block of Las Vegas Boulevard South just after 11:40 a.m. Thursday

Video from the area showed a man in his early 30s running south on Las Vegas Boulevard toward Sands Boulevard.

Witness account

Dewaun Turner, 47, witnessed five of the stabbings, he said. He called 911 and was later interviewed by police.

Turner was walking home from his job as a porter at The District at Resorts World when he saw two people dressed as showgirls running and screaming for help while being chased by a knife-wielding man.

One of the two people, both attired in red dresses and high heels, slipped near an escalator to a pedestrian bridge and fell to the ground in front of Wynn Las Vegas. That’s when the man stabbed her.

The second person was trying to run away, but the man jumped up from stabbing the first woman and stabbed the second, Turner said. He kept running south toward the Palazzo.

The first person dressed as a showgirl appeared to be in grave condition and was bleeding profusely, Turner said. The second person, who was also stabbed but who Turner said appeared not to be as seriously injured, got on top of her friend to apply pressure to her wounds.

“He wasn’t saying anything,” Turner said of the suspect.

After running from the two wounded people, the man then stabbed a man who was walking with a woman. Turner said it appeared the man died at the scene.

He then saw the man stab two more women, with one of them more seriously injured than the other. Turner didn’t see the other three stabbings.

The second person in showgirl attire, who appeared to have been stabbed in the back, was trying to help her bleeding friend, who wasn’t making a sound, Turner said. A man also began helping, and security guards from Wynn Las Vegas rushed to help in the moments before police arrived, Turner said.

“Ten or 15 steps ahead and I would’ve been one of the people stabbed,” Turner said.

‘Hard to understand’

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said both locals and tourists were injured in the stabbing.

“We want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the victims themselves,” LaRochelle said. “This is clearly very tragic and hard to understand, (a) hard-to-comprehend murder investigation that deeply impacts our community.”

A spokesman for University Medical Center said four victims were received at the hospital. One died after arrival, one was critically wounded and two others were in serious condition.

UMC Trauma surgeon Kevin Kuruvilla said Thursday evening that one victim remained in critical condition after undergoing surgery with unspecified injuries.

“Bleeding was something that we worked on controlling today and having the patients arrive within the hour of the incident definitely helped with them surviving this,” Kuruvilla said of four of the patients.

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center confirmed that it received two victims from the mass stabbing.

A large kitchen knife was found at the scene, LaRochelle said.

“As you can imagine we have scores of witnesses to continue to get statements from and we have a number of video surveillance we have to get through in the immediate future,” LaRochelle said at the news conference.

Thought he heard laughing

Pierre Fandrich, a French-speaking tourist from Montreal, said he was near the pedestrian bridge outside Wynn Las Vegas when he saw a group of three or four women dressed as showgirls on the Wynn side of the pedestrian bridge.

“He thought it was laughing at first but then he heard it was screaming, actually,” said another Montreal tourist, Maxime Wallace, who translated for Fandrich.

“There was one ‘showgirl’ on the ground,” Fandrich said through the translator. “There was another showgirl on top of her, trying to help her friend. She seemed to be stabbed in the back, but she didn’t notice because she was helping the other ‘showgirl.’ ”

Fandrich said he did not see the suspect.

“There was a lot of blood on the ground,” Fandrich said through Wallace.

Video provided to the Review-Journal showed two women in bright red showgirl dresses being taken to ambulances on stretchers.

Spring Mountain Road and Sands Avenue were closed for several hours near Las Vegas Boulevard while officers investigated.

Sarah Aghi, 35, a tourist from Orange County, California, was stunned by the fact the stabbings unfolded in broad daylight, with tourists everywhere.

“We were just there 10 minutes before it happened,” Aghi said.

‘Senseless attack’

Local politicians took to Twitter to share their concern Thursday afternoon.

“Our tourists must feel safe when they visit Las Vegas,” U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., wrote.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak echoed the sentiment, writing, “At the State level, we will continue to work with partners in law enforcement to make resources available on the ground and ensure the Las Vegas Strip remains a safe and welcoming place for all to visit.”

State Attorney General Aaron Ford thanked first responders for their work in what his office called a “senseless attack.”

“Attorney General @AaronDFordNV and the entire Office of the Attorney General are appalled by today’s tragedy and are thinking of the victims and their families,” the statement read.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter. Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com or 561-324-6421. Follow @BrettClarkson on Twitter. Review-Journal staff reporter David Wilson and digital content producer Tony Garcia contributed to this report.

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