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Suspect in Las Vegas slayings killed himself, police sources say

Updated February 26, 2024 - 1:17 pm

A man who was found dead after he was being sought in connection with two slayings in the past week also killed a man during a burglary in northwest Las Vegas in 2003 when he was just 15 years old, police confirmed.

Mark Michael Ford, 36, who was a suspect in the fatal shootings of a man early Sunday morning and a woman on Tuesday, is the same person who was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the February 2003 stabbing death of a man, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson confirmed.

Ford died of an apparent suicide on Sunday morning, Metro police sources said Monday. A Metro news release on Sunday said Ford’s vehicle had been found and that he no longer posed a threat but didn’t explain that he’d been found dead.

Victims knew each other

Earlier Sunday morning, Metro police publicly named Ford as a suspect in the killing of a 36-year-old woman who was found suffering from gunshot wounds in the 11000 block of Andorra Street, near Bermuda Road and St. Rose Parkway, at 5:13 p.m. Tuesday.

The woman, identified as Jessica Russo, 36, of Las Vegas, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Five days later, on Sunday, the man was found with gunshot wounds in the 7000 block of North Hualapai Way around 12:15 a.m. He was taken to University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The two victims knew each other, police said.

The man hadn’t yet been identified publicly. The Clark County coroner’s office was expected to release his name.

In the first of two Sunday morning news releases, police asked for the public’s help in finding Ford and warned that Ford was believed to still be in the Las Vegas area and that he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Then, in a second release issued at 10 a.m. Sunday, police said Ford was also a suspect in the Hualapai Way slaying and that he and his vehicle, a 2000 Lexus sedan with the license plate “844X06,” had been found and he was no longer a threat.

‘In and out of trouble’

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal archives, on Feb. 24, 2003, Ford broke into Vincent Gomes’ home near Charleston Boulevard and Hualapai Way and fatally stabbed Gomes in the neck.

Gomes was surfing the internet that afternoon when Ford broke in, the Review-Journal reported in 2004. During a struggle, Ford grabbed a knife from a countertop.

“I grabbed the handle (of the knife), I took a step forward and I stabbed Mr. Gomes,” Ford testified in his 2004 trial, saying he had only meant to steal. “I never meant to kill him.”

After Ford, who was described in Review-Journal news stories as “baby-faced,” apologized to Gomes’ loved ones during the trial, the judge seemed skeptical.

“I don’t see remorse here,” District Judge Joseph Bonaventure said. “I see a kid who has been getting in and out of trouble, in and out of trouble, and he just doesn’t care.”

Bonaventure described Ford’s crime as the “ultimate evil” and Clark County prosecutor Jim Sweetin said of Ford: “Everything we know about the defendant is that he keeps getting worse.”

Roberta Gomes, the victim’s ex-wife, told Ford that God would eventually judge him.

“The time will soon be here,” she said. “Your judgment day will come.”

Bonaventure sentenced Ford to a life sentence with parole eligibility after 20 years.

The Nevada Department of Corrections website lists Ford as having been paroled in connection with the time he was serving for the killing. However, it wasn’t clear when he was released from prison.

Anyone with information is urged to call Metro’s Homicide Section at 702-828-3521 or email homicide@lvmpd.com. Call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 to remain anonymous.

If you are thinking about suicide, or are worried about a loved one or friend, help is available 24/7 by calling or texting the Lifeline network at 988. Live chat is available at 988lifeline.org.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com. Contact Taylor Lane at tlane@reviewjournal.com.

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