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3 found dead in west Las Vegas apartment, man in custody

Updated June 27, 2023 - 9:57 pm

At about 9 a.m. Tuesday, just before three people were killed at a southwest Las Vegas apartment building, tenant Bill Phillips recalls taking out a load of garbage and talking to a maintenance man who worked there.

“I was going to take another load and we heard screaming coming from the backside of this building,” Phillips said. “And he said, ‘Oh Billy, I better go check and see what’s going on over there.’ ”

Moments later, another maintenance man apparently walked into the scene of a double homicide in an apartment and was killed by an attacker, who then assaulted and wounded the worker Phillips talked to before police were summoned to the Rancho De Montana complex at 9105 W. Flamingo Road.

The screaming sounded liked two men yelling at each other, he said.

Officers were called at 9:03 a.m. to a report of a man bleeding from the head who said he was attacked at the complex on West Flamingo near South El Capitan Way, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police Department.

At a news briefing outside the complex, Metro homicide Lt. Jason Johansson told reporters that a man in his 30s had been arrested after the three people were found slain inside an apartment, including a man in his 50s and a woman in her 80s.

Late Tuesday night, police sources confirmed that 30-year-old Spencer McDonald had been arrested. Court records show he faces three counts of open murder and one count of attempted murder.

McDonald is due in court Wednesday at 9 a.m. and is being held without bail.

Police from Summerlin Area Command were called about a possible stabbing of a person near the complex’s leasing office, Johansson said.

“As officers arrived on scene, they made contact with a 50-year-old Hispanic male who was a maintenance worker who appeared to be a victim,” Johansson said. “That person told (officers) that that man who stabbed him was located in the courtyard directly behind the leasing office.”

‘Sledgehammer-type of instrument’

Police were soon advised that “the suspect ran through the leasing office and out toward Flamingo Road,” he said. “Officers who were responding made contact with him and he was taken into custody, and in his possession he had a large mace or sledgehammer-type of instrument with him.”

They learned that the unidentified suspect was connected with an apartment at the complex and that the wounded maintenance worker had been stabbed at that unit, he said.

Officers reached the apartment “where unfortunately they located the deceased remains of a female and two males” who appeared to have been murdered and the department’s homicide unit was contacted, he said.

The two employees had used a key to enter the apartment for the welfare check and upon entering saw that the place was disheveled “and it appeared there was already a crime scene in there and the suspect … immediately confronted them and began attacking them,” he said.

Suspect, 2 victims believed to be related

The worker who survived was attacked at the door and able to flee to the leasing office, but the first worker died in the apartment, he said.

The bodies of the female and the other male killed there were in one of the unit’s bedrooms, he said.

Police were unsure about their relationship to the suspect, “however we do believe they are related and that they live together in the apartment possibly at this time.”

Investigators were working on identifying the victims and further details of what occurred in the apartment, he said.

The maintenance worker who was apparently stabbed was transported to University Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, Johansson said.

Phillips, 53, who said he has lived at the complex for about 20 years, claimed that to his knowledge the male and female victims were the brother and mother of the suspect and that they had moved there about a year ago.

He said he had seen the suspect repeatedly walking around the complex “always dressed in black” and having “a peculiar tic” where he habitually moved his right arm up and down his chest.

“Why was the maintenance man doing a welfare check?” he asked. “Police do welfare checks, maintenance men don’t.”

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter. Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.

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