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Waiter shot during burglary fights for life, police seek gunman

Updated December 21, 2021 - 3:03 pm

A waiter shot multiple times by a burglar at a Chinatown restaurant was fighting for his life Tuesday after undergoing a string of surgeries at University Medical Center.

Chengyan Wang, who is in his early 40s, was attacked by a masked gunman at the ShangHai Taste restaurant, 4266 W. Spring Mountain Road, on Monday at 2:55 a.m. The gunman remained at large as of Tuesday.

Restaurant co-owner Joe Muscaglione said Tuesday that initial reports indicated Wang was shot 11 times, but he apparently was hit seven times. He remained in critical condition at UMC and was undergoing back surgery Tuesday morning, he said.

“He underwent several hours of neck surgery,” Muscaglione said. “One of the bullets went through his neck. That was a surgery. Four bullets to the abdomen. One to the shoulder, one through the hand and one through the neck. He’s in critical condition. The police officer told me, ‘If I took these kind of shots, I wouldn’t be alive today.’ It’s a miracle. He’s a hero.”

Surveillance images show a slender masked man outside the closed restaurant, which was undergoing its nightly extensive cleaning. It appears the gunman stormed into the establishment and unloaded the weapon on Wang, who came to Las Vegas six months ago to work and support his family in China. Muscaglione said the shooting was unprovoked and appears to be an after-hours burglary.

“He is our lead waiter, he has no family here, so he just works,” Muscaglione said. “He works more than anybody I’ve ever met. We have nothing that leads me to believe he has any enemies. It was just a random attack. I’m pretty sure this was a random thug.”

Two Las Vegas police cars were observed in front of the popular restaurant early Tuesday. Spring Valley Area Command Capt. Michelle Tavarez said Tuesday afternoon that police believe the shooting was related to a burglary at the shopping complex about a week and a half ago.

“Currently we have nothing in our investigation, no evidence, to lead us to believe that this is a hate crime or that anyone was specifically targeted in the Asian community,” Tavarez said.

Tavarez said the prior burglary was not reported to police until Tuesday.

Two men entered the business “after hours while the employees are cleaning up,” Tavarez said. “They go inside, undetected, steal a backpack and exit out the rear.”

Tavarez said police do not have video of the interaction between the burglar and Wang.

Jimmy Li, chef and co-owner of ShangHai Taste, said he has known Wang for more than 10 years and described him as a wonderful person.

“A very nice guy,” Li said. “He works very hard and is very helpful to me. … He sends money to support his family in China (sending thousands recently) … for surgery for his mom.”

Li said the shooting is heartbreaking for all those close to Wang. Everyone wants to see an arrest and justice in the shooting. Muscaglione said proceeds at the restaurant will go to helping Wang recover.

“No respect for life,” Li said. “Seven shots? It meant he really wanted to kill him … and that you don’t really care about life.”

Police asked for the public’s help in solving the crime. Anyone with information can call officers directly at 702-828-2639. Anonymous tipsters can call Secret Witness at 702-385-5555.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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