Updated October 27, 2020 - 7:33 pm
A bicyclist killed Sunday when a man leaned out of a vehicle and struck her in east Las Vegas was a longtime employee of Boyd Gaming Corp. who was known for her kindness.
“She was an angel,” said Michelle Weissman’s friend and former co-worker Janice Mathews, of Heber City, Utah. “She always had a smile on her face. She was the most pleasant person you’d ever meet. She always said ‘hi’ and treated you like she’d known you forever.”
Michelle “Shelli” Weissman, 56, was killed as she rode her bike on Hollywood Boulevard near Sahara Avenue on Sunday morning.
Mathews said she worked with Weissman for many years at Eastside Cannery, where Weissman was a front desk manager. Boyd Gaming later said Weissman worked at the Cannery on Craig Road.
Those who knew her are in shock over how she lost her life, Mathews said.
“Disbelief,” Mathews said. “My heart is broken. I’m still broken. For somebody to be so callous, to do anything like that, it boggles the mind that anyone would do such a heinous thing to another person.”
No one answered the door Tuesday morning at Weissman’s east Las Vegas home.
Boyd Gaming spokesman David Strow issued a statement saying Boyd employees are grieving over Weissman’s death. The statement did not say how long Weissman had worked for Boyd.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless loss of our team member, Shelli,” the statement said. “She was well-known and well-liked by the entire Cannery team, and we will miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this very difficult time.”
Weissman, who was wearing a helmet, died at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries. Her death was ruled a homicide, the Clark County coroner’s office said.
The coroner’s office also identified the man who died after he leaned out of a car and struck Weissman as 20-year-old Giovanni Medina Barajas, of Las Vegas. Police said Medina Barajas stuck his body out the window of a minivan and pushed Weissman as she rode her bike.
Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said Sunday that the momentum of pushing Weissman caused Medina Barajas to fall from the car, skid on the asphalt and strike a streetlight. He also died at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, and his death was ruled an accident.
Spencer called the deaths “senseless.”
Police arrested 22-year-old Rodrigo Cruz, who was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Sunday. He faces charges of murder and failing to stop at the scene of an accident, court records show.
He is accused of driving the minivan close to Weissman before Medina Barajas struck her.
Medina Barajas tried to strike a couple on a walk before he shoved Weissman, the couple told police.
Cruz initially denied that he was driving the van but later admitted that he was traveling about 50 or 60 mph when the woman was struck, according to his arrest report.
“He never went back to check on (Medina Barajas) because he was scared since he was on parole and didn’t think Gio was hurt,” the report said. “Rodrigo stated he wasn’t intentionally driving in a manner to allow Gio to make contact with any pedestrians or the bicyclist.”
But the police report said evidence showed that Cruz would have been driving in the bicycle lane.
Cruz remained in jail without bail Tuesday. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.