weather icon Clear

North Las Vegas police search for gunman who killed security guard

Updated March 8, 2019 - 7:01 pm

W​ednesday morning’s rainstorm washed away any forensic evidence that may have been left behind at the scene of a shooting at a construction site in a new North Las Vegas neighborhood, where a private security guard was killed while watching over the site.

Naajee Johnson, 23, had just taken the security job about a month before he was killed to help pay for bills and expenses to care for his grandmother, Estella Murray.

On Friday, Murray could say only a few words about her grandson before she began to sob.

“I just can’t think right now,” she said, adding that the family had just left the funeral home.

By Friday, detectives had exhausted the few leads they had, and the shooter or shooters remained at large, North Las Vegas Police Department spokesman Eric Leavitt said.

Detectives believe the shooting happened around 4 a.m. Wednesday on the 2400 block of Evening Snow Court, near Carey Avenue and Revere Street, which is lined with skeletons of nearly completed homes.

The handful of residents living in newly built homes on nearby Desert Senna Avenue told police they heard gunshots, but no one called police, Leavitt said.

​Had the shooting occurred on any other day, Leavitt added, Johnson would likely have been found by at least 6 a.m., when construction workers typically begin their workdays. But because of the rain, they didn’t arrive at the construction site until about 10 a.m.

It was then that the workers called 911 after finding the security guard dead inside his vehicle, which was parked next to a green dumpster at the end of the cul-de-sac. He had been shot multiple times, according to the Clark County coroner’s office, marking the 17th homicide in Clark County this year and the fifth investigated by North Las Vegas police.

On Friday afternoon, as shards of glass from Johnson’s shattered car window still lay scattered on the ground, Jose, a construction worker, told the Review-Journal that people often try to break into dumpsters on construction sites looking for scraps of material.

Born and raised in the Historic Westside, Johnson had lived with his grandmother since he was 6. He graduated in 2014 from Rancho High School and most recently had attended Sanford-Brown College in Las Vegas, where he studied audio production.

His lifelong dream, according to his uncle, Fred Murray, was to be a sound mixer and start his own audio production business.

Johnson’s taste in music ranged from The Beatles to Nicki Minaj. But most surprising, Fred Murray said, was his nephew’s love for classical music.

“He was brilliant,” he said.

Johnson leaves behind a “huge family that loved him,” Fred Murray said, including his maternal and paternal grandmothers, two older brothers, aunts and uncles.

It was not clear why the Police Department waited until Friday to announce the homicide, but asked that anyone with information contact police at 702-633-9111 or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 to remain anonymous.

“Detectives are still working on a motive for the homicide and are attempting to identify a suspect at this time,” police said.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.