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‘He’s tough’: Man unhurt in 2023 homeless shooting critically injured in hit-and-run

Updated May 6, 2024 - 10:26 am

It was just six months ago when Robert Tully survived a shooting at an east Las Vegas homeless encampment that left two men dead and wounded three others.

Now, his friends are pulling for Tully, who was unharmed in the shooting, to survive again, after he was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle early Sunday.

“Really good-hearted, but he’s tough,” said Jeremy Flores, 35, who said he witnessed Sunday’s crash and has known Tully, whom he calls Bob, for over 10 years.

Tully, 63, who was in critical condition on Sunday with severe injuries, police said, had spoken with Review-Journal reporters in the days after the Dec. 1 shooting, sharing his horror and grief over his lost and injured friends.

“That’s just how it looked around here, like a war zone,” Tully had said.

Sunday’s crash that left Tully fighting for his life, according to a Metropolitan Police Department news release, happened when a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze LS ran off the road just before 2 a.m. on Sandhill Road approaching Hawaii Avenue, near East Charleston Boulevard and U.S. Highway 95.

The car traveled off Sandhill and to the right and “collided with the pedestrian,” police said, identifying the pedestrian as Tully.

Tully was taken to University Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition with severe injuries Sunday.

The driver and his passenger abandoned the Cruze and fled the scene on foot, Metro said.

Police announced early Monday in another press release that the driver had been found and arrested.

Yester Yancarlos Paz-Zavala, 20, of Washington, Utah, faces several charges including duty to stop at an accident involving death or injury, which refers to the hit-and-run allegation against him, and driving without a license, jail records show.

Paz-Zavala’s passenger was identified as a 36-year-old Washington, Utah man.

The crash happened at a small homeless encampment on a patch of land to the east of Sandhill.

Metro said the pedestrian was sleeping inside a makeshift tent. Flores said Tully had been standing up and was setting up his tent when the car hit him, throwing him several feet toward some nearby bushes.

‘They took out Bob, you know?’

After the crash, which was reported at 1:56 a.m., other people in the area told the Cruze driver and his passenger to wait for police, to no avail, police said.

“After the collision, the vehicle stopped inside a business just north of the crash, where several uninvolved motorists contacted the driver and his front passenger, advising them to wait for police,” the Metro release stated. “After a brief discussion with the witnesses, the Chevrolet driver and his front passenger returned to the vehicle and fled the scene.”

The driver and passenger “abandoned the vehicle nearby and fled on foot in an unknown direction,” police said.

Flores said he saw two headlights coming toward the encampment. He said after the car hit Tully, it kept going through the gas station parking lot just north of the encampment until it hit a large pole holding up a Sinclair fuel sign.

“They took out Bob, you know? Bob was standing right here,” Flores said, describing where Tully had been standing, just a few feet away from Flores’ makeshift shelter, when Tully was hit.

The crash was one of several serious or fatal collisions in the Las Vegas Valley over the weekend.

Arrests made in shooting

In December, days after the five victims were shot at an encampment near where the Sunday morning collision happened, Tully had said during interviews with Review-Journal reporters that the shooting occurred while he was in his tent trying on clothes he had been given as a Christmas present.

Tully broke down in tears when he would look down at the blood-stained sidewalk. He grieved Timothy Bratton, 57, who died of a gunshot wound the night of the shooting. Ashley Burnell, 38, who was also shot, died on Dec. 8.

He was a “good guy,” Tully said of Bratton. “Kind, never hurt nobody, helped you when he could.”

Tully also vowed to protect Audrey Cook, 35, whose boyfriend, Zachary Adolph, was wounded in the shooting.

“I’d die for her if it comes to it,” said Tully, who described himself as a former high voltage electrician who had been living in Las Vegas since the 1980s and had been without a home for the past 11 years.

Cristobal Omar Perez, 31, and Kylee Au Young, 21, were arrested in January in connection with the December shooting, Metro police announced in early January.

Also on Sunday morning, a pedestrian was killed at Charleston and Decatur boulevards and a motorcylist was killed on U.S. Highway 95 between the Charleston Boulevard and Boulder Highway exits.

On Friday evening, a 59-year-old man was killed while crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk on East Cheyenne Avenue east of Las Vegas Boulevard North.

The latest Metro statistics show the number of hit-and-run fatalities between Jan. 1 and April 26 was 11 this year, compared with six over the same time last year, marking an increase of 83.3 percent.

All collisions overall were down in that time period, with 5,865 in 2024 compared with 6,438 in 2023, a decline of 8.9 percent.

Collisions involving pedestrians have risen 18.5 percent, with 282 in the first almost four months of 2024. That’s compared with 238 in 2023.

Sunday’s crash remained under investigation by Metro’s collision investigation section.

Anyone with information is urged to call Metro at 702-828-3786.

Anonymous tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555, visit www.crimestoppersofNV.com, or use the “P3” mobile app.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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