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Police link man jailed in Henderson, Las Vegas killings to 3rd death

Updated July 7, 2021 - 4:20 pm

A California man arrested last week in a three-day string of robberies and shootings in Las Vegas and Henderson has been connected to a third homicide, a senior police official said.

In addition to the two slayings that John Anthony Carrillo, 29, was charged in connection with after his arrest on Thursday, detectives now believe he is connected to the death of 55-year-old Miles Smith, Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told the Review-Journal on Wednesday.

Investigators believe Smith, who was found dead Saturday morning in an apartment near Charleston Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, was killed before the two fatal shootings on Thursday, although it was unclear when he was shot, Spencer said.

Smith’s death was ruled a homicide due to a gunshot wound of the chest, the Clark County coroner’s office has said.

Spencer did not say how detectives linked Carrillo to Smith’s death. It remained unclear Wednesday if Carrillo knew any of the three men who were fatally shot.

Carrillo told police officers that he had smoked methamphetamine prior to his arrest, according to court records. Investigators believe that drug use played a role in the shootings and that all of the shootings were “unprovoked,” Spencer said.

Father stabbed in Gilroy

Spencer said that before the three-day crime spree, Carrillo was suspected of stabbing his father in Gilroy, California. Further information about the stabbing was not immediately available.

A judge denied bail for Carrillo when he appeared in court on Wednesday morning. Carrillo is charged in six separate crimes that started June 29 and ended with the fatal shootings, police have said.

No charges in connection with the third homicide were listed in court records as of Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities identified the other two men killed as Ruben Garcia, 36, and Abraham Acosta, 32. Garcia was shot and killed Thursday morning at a home near Oakey Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, and Acosta was fatally shot more than 12 hours later in Henderson, at a gas station near Silverado Ranch Boulevard and Maryland Parkway, police have said.

Appearing on video from the Clark County Detention Center for a court hearing, a shackled Carrillo, flanked by two jail officers, told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia that he had previously worked in Santa Clara County, California. The judge ordered him held without bail.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly said that a committee of prosecutors would review the charges against Carrillo to determine whether they would seek the death penalty.

Carrillo faces several felony charges, including two counts of murder and attempted murder, three counts of robbery and attempted robbery, four counts of burglary and kidnapping and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to Las Vegas Justice Court records.

He also faces charges of burglary and attempted robbery in Henderson Justice Court, according to online records.

Chronology of the crimes

The series of crimes started about 8:30 p.m. June 29, when Carrillo approached a man putting air in his tires at a U.S. Tire Center at 1301 E. Charleston Blvd., according to an arrest report. Carrillo asked for a ride and, after the man said no, climbed into his car with an unidentified woman and drove off.

At about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday, a man with a black shirt covering part of his face and duct tape on his eyebrows and elbows attempted to rob a 702 Mart at 1468 E. Charleston Blvd., the report said. The cashier said the man, later identified by police as Carrillo, pointed a gun at her, then fired it into a nearby cigarette display case.

About an hour and a half later, Carrillo shot a man in the face in the Palm Market convenience store at 3411 E. Charleston Blvd., a little over two miles away from the 702 Market, the report said. He was wearing the same clothes from the earlier robbery and still had duct tape on his arms and face, police said.

The next morning, Carrillo arrived at Garcia’s home on the 1700 block of Euclid Avenue and began demanding money from Garcia, who gave him the keys to his Nissan Altima. Spencer said Wednesday that police believe robbery was a motive in Garcia’s killing.

Garcia’s girlfriend, who was in the home, told police she heard a gunshot and called 911 after Carrillo drove away in the Nissan, the report said.

Carrillo later shot Acosta at a 7-Eleven gas station at 10540 S. Maryland Parkway.

Video surveillance showed Acosta approaching Carrillo, who was in the driver’s seat of the Nissan. The footage showed Acosta “apparently providing a lighter for a cigarette” when Carrillo shot him in the face and drove away, the report said.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter. Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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