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Gunman in Summerlin shooting killed 2 in front of his wife

Updated April 9, 2024 - 8:48 pm

A court document filed hours after Monday’s shooting at a Summerlin law office describes the moments leading up to the attack, when the gunman killed two people in front of his wife before killing himself.

Update: Woman requested security before Summerlin shooting that left 3 dead

Five minutes after a deposition began inside a conference room Monday morning, Las Vegas attorney Joseph Houston II, 77, “stood up, had a very glazed and rattled look in his eyes, pulled out a handgun and shot (Dennis) Prince four times,” according to the document.

Longtime Las Vegas attorney Lisa Rasmussen confirmed Tuesday that she also was present during the shooting and was representing Houston’s wife, Katherine, who was set to be questioned during the deposition. Rasmussen said Joseph Houston was representing the couple’s son, Dylan, in a contentious custody battle with Dylan Houston’s former wife, now known as Ashley Prince.

“The entire Houston family is extremely devastated right now, and it’s difficult for anyone, including me, to even process yesterday’s events,” Rasmussen said in a telephone interview.

Veteran trial lawyer Dennis Prince, 57, and his 30-year-old wife, Ashley, were killed. The couple were the parents of an infant.

The court document filed Monday by Michele LoBello, one of Ashley Prince’s attorneys, described the chaotic scene, including how the shooter appeared to spare a pregnant lawyer who also was in the room.

That lawyer, identified as Shannon Wilson, “immediately ducked and hid under the conference room table,” LoBello wrote in the filing.

“She explained to me that she asked Mr. Houston please not to hurt her baby as she is pregnant,” LoBello continued. “She explained to me that Mr. Houston allowed her to leave the conference room and following her quick departure and taking cover elsewhere in the office, she heard additional shots fired.”

Joseph Houston then turned the gun on himself, according to those familiar with the attack.

‘Acrimonious’ case

Rasmussen told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she was in the room representing Katherine Houston because of the nature of the case.

“My client believed it prudent to have her own counsel, to have some separation from the family dynamic, because the entire case was so acrimonious,” she said.

According to the court document filed Monday by LoBello, Dylan Houston was not present at the deposition.

Court records show that Dylan Houston, who also is a lawyer in Las Vegas, filed for divorce from Ashley in October 2021 after a four-year marriage.

A divorce decree issued a month later granted the pair joint physical and legal custody of two children. But custody of the children, now 5 and 4, remained in dispute.

Dennis Prince, along with attorneys from the firm Jones & LoBello, represented Ashley, who was identified as Ashley Prince in court records as recently as last month.

In the motion filed Monday, LoBello also wrote that a private investigator had conducted surveillance on Dylan Houston late last month, and had documented “concerning information regarding Plaintiff’s drinking and dangerous behavior.”

The investigator observed Dylan Houston drinking at a bar on March 29, and wrote in a report that he drove home and appeared to swerve his car, according to court documents.

Information from the private investigator was sent to Dennis Prince and Joseph Houston on April 2, LoBello wrote in the motion.

Court records indicate that Dylan Houston pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, which stemmed from an arrest in October 2020, in February 2022. He was ordered to complete community service and DUI classes.

Further information about the case was not immediately available on Tuesday afternoon.

Allegations of drug use

Attorney John Jones, who also represented Ashley Houston, alleged in a May deposition that the custody proceedings involved substance abuse allegations against Dylan Houston, including “a positive drug test for cocaine.”

Jones also said “there has been a positive alcohol test during his custodial time, there has been a missed alcohol test during his custodial time,” according to a transcript of the deposition included in court documents filed in July.

Police said the shooting occurred at about 10 a.m. Monday inside the offices of Prince Law Group, a personal injury, insurance law and commercial law firm on the fifth floor of the City National Bank Building at 10801 W. Charleston Blvd.

Seven people were taking part in the deposition, police said, including an unidentified court reporter.

Within hours of the killings, lawyers for Ashley Prince filed an emergency motion requesting that sole custody of the children be given to the dead woman’s sister. The motion was granted by District Judge Bill Henderson.

In that document, LoBello wrote that Dylan Houston’s actions around the time of the shooting suggested that he “knew or must have known of the intentions of his father prior to the commission of these heinous acts.”

In a response, Dylan Houston denied the allegations.

“The motivation of the tragedy of April 8, 2024, is unknown to anyone but Joseph W. Houston himself. The Defense’s suggestion that this was a ‘planned attack’ with the Plaintiff is insulting and quite speculative,” Dylan Houston wrote.

LoBello wrote that Dylan Houston attempted to pick up his children from school after the shooting “in the middle of the school day, despite the details as to Defendant’s status of dead or alive not being made public at this time.” Ashley Prince was the defendant in the divorce case.

Dylan Houston responded to the emergency motion by writing that his “actions following the shooting is not indicative of a co-conspirator as the Defense callously would like the Court to believe, rather that of a concerned father wanting to protect, console, love and support his children from any unnecessary discussion regarding this tragedy.”

Attempts by the Las Vegas Review-Journal to reach Dylan Houston at his home and by phone were unsuccessful.

A public relations firm released the following statement Tuesday on behalf of the Houston family:

“Our family is in a state of profound shock and sadness at yesterday’s events. We ask for prayers and privacy as we try to navigate the coming days. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is still conducting their investigation and as that continues, speculation about details of the incident only serves to add trauma to our already grieving and overwhelmed families. We have full faith in Metro’s efforts and will leave all future comment to them as their investigation unfolds.”

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com. Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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