The string of holiday season killings in the Las Vegas Valley continued Saturday morning when two security guards were gunned down inside a hotel room.
The killings at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur marked the fourth double homicide and the fifth multiple homicide investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department this month.
Since Dec. 22 alone, Metro has investigated 12 homicides, all but one resulting from gun violence. But over the same stretch, the valley has had 15 homicides, including the deaths of three people inside a North Las Vegas home Thursday.
“People are too quick to go to guns,” Metro homicide Capt. Robert Plummer said Wednesday night of the climbing homicide numbers.
In 2016, Metro investigated a record-breaking 168 homicides, including two for other agencies. On Saturday, with one day before the new year, Metro tied 2016’s homicide investigation number.
The 2017 total excludes the 58 killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting Oct. 1.
Saturday’s double homicide, which pushed this year’s homicide count to tie the record, happened sometime before 6:35 a.m., when police said a hotel guest at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, 740 S. Decatur Blvd., requested security to her room after two men she had invited in forced her out.
By the time the uniformed security guards — an armed woman and an unarmed man — arrived at the room, only one of the two men was still inside.
Metro homicide Lt. Dan McGrath said police concluded, based on witness statements and surveillance video, that the shooter let the guards into the room. The suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Christopher Olague, argued briefly with the guards, then started shooting, McGrath said.
The armed security officer did not draw her weapon, police said.
Before police arrived, the gunman ran to a nearby neighborhood on the 5000 block of Evergreen Place, just west of Arizona Charlie’s Decatur. He tried and failed two carjackings, then jumped over a wall into a backyard.
Police said the homeowner was initially able to keep out the gunman, who tried to break in through a back door.
“But officers were already on scene, and as they’re closing in on him, he enters the garage, which had a laundry room, and shoots himself in the head,” McGrath said.
Olague was taken to University Medical Center’s trauma unit with critical injuries. As of Saturday evening, he was still alive, but McGrath said the man’s head wound was not survivable.
McGrath said Olague would have faced “a number of felony charges,” including murder, attempted murder, burglary and attempted robbery.
McGrath said Metro’s homicide detectives have been unable to connect with either the woman who called for the security guards or the man suspected of helping the shooter oust the woman from her room.
Golden Entertainment, the parent company of Arizona Charlie’s, called the shooting “a senseless act of violence” in a statement issued Saturday night.
“These individuals were security officers dedicated to protecting our guests and other team members,” it read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims during this difficult time.”
Golden Entertainment expressed gratitude to Metro for its quick response and efforts to ensure the safety of guests and team members.
The company said it is providing counseling and other resources to team members who need professional support to deal with the shooting.
Ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown the homicide captain, Plummer reassured the public the shooting was an isolated incident.
“I want you to know right now that this has nothing to do with terrorism,” he said Saturday morning outside the hotel-casino. “This is something that happened prior to officers arriving.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal records show Metro has investigated 22 homicides this month, more than double the nine investigated in December 2016.
The Clark County coroner’s office will identify the security guards after their families have been notified.
Anyone with information on the incident may call Metro’s homicide section at 702-828-3521, or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
Contact Rio Lacanlale at email@example.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.
Holiday season killings by the numbers
— Dec. 22: Renee Simmons, 58, and Thomas Dufault, 59, were found dead from gunshot wounds inside their eastern valley home.
— Dec. 22: Three roommates were allegedly shot to death by a fourth roommate inside their eastern valley home.
— Dec. 24: Theresa Henry, 28, was found dead in a dumpster at a central valley apartment complex.
— Dec. 27: Two homeless people were found dead from gunshot wounds near the loading dock of a central valley business.
— Dec. 27: Two people died and three others were hospitalized after a shooting in a northeastern valley apartment complex.
— Dec. 28: Two men and one woman were found dead inside a North Las Vegas home.
— Dec. 30: Two security guards were fatally shot inside a hotel room at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur.
740 S. Decatur Blvd.