Strip blast kills man

A small homemade bomb exploded at the Luxor parking garage early Monday, killing a man and stoking fears of a terrorist attack on the Strip.

Not long after the 4 a.m. blast, national news outlets jumped on the story in a media frenzy that continued throughout the day, though Las Vegas police soon determined that the deadly explosion was an act of murder, not terror.

“This is a murder investigation, but rather than a gun or knife as the weapon of choice, an explosive device was used,” Las Vegas police Deputy Chief Ted Moody said.

The dead man was an employee of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, employees there said and an investigator confirmed. The restaurant is one of several noncasino businesses that remain open all night in the food court inside the Luxor, a pyramid-shaped hotel with more than 4,400 rooms and 4,200 employees at the south end of the Strip.

The Nathan’s employee left the hotel with a female worker and walked with her to his car, which was parked on top of the two-story parking garage behind the hotel, police said.

When he got to his black sedan, the man noticed an object on the roof. When he picked it up, it exploded, said police, who released few details about the bomb.

“We have no reason to believe that anyone other than the deceased victim in this attack was the intended target,” Moody said, though he noted anyone could have picked up the bomb.

The man died shortly after arriving at University Medical Center, but his companion was unhurt despite standing about four feet away. She was cooperating with detectives, Moody said.

Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined police in the investigation, scrutinizing pieces of the explosive device for evidence that could lead to the killer.

ATF Special Agent Tom Mangan said the device was unlike explosives used in war, but it packed enough power to kill. The device produced a blast with the force of a stick of dynamite.

“The lethality is there when you look at the puddle of blood and shrapnel,” he said. Shrapnel penetrated nearby vehicles, and pieces of the bomb were scattered across the parking structure.

Police were reviewing videotape from the casino and from the parking lot, which fully reopened about 9:30 p.m.

Early in the day, Sheriff Doug Gillespie told state officials that the incident resulted from a “domestic dispute,” Nevada Homeland Security Director Larry Martines said.

But late Monday, Gillespie said his earlier statement had been based on preliminary information and that detectives hadn’t determined the reason for the bombing.

“We don’t know the motive,” he said. “We don’t even know who the victim is.”

The coroner’s office had not confirmed the victim’s identity by Monday afternoon.

Detectives ruled out terrorism early in the investigation based on the bomb’s placement on a car in a parking garage, Moody said. Terrorists would likely target crowded areas where a bomb could inflict mass casualties, he said.

Investigators considered Monday’s bombing an isolated event and unrelated to a morning explosion at the Black Pearl tattoo parlor at 4160 S. Fort Apache Road, near Flamingo Road, Moody said.

News of the explosion at the Luxor hit national airwaves early Monday morning, with both CNN and Fox News Channel running stories about the blast. Local news stations, which updated the story throughout the day, were joined by three satellite news trucks and at least two news crews from Los Angeles that broadcast live reports from the scene.

Amid the media frenzy, a suspicious package spotted in the Luxor sports book about 11:30 a.m. prompted a brief evacuation while Clark County firefighters checked out the package and deemed it safe.

Gillespie said he knew the combination of a bomb and Strip resort would attract the media spotlight.

“Anytime you hear of an explosive device going off on the Strip, you can’t help but think of mass casualties,” he said.

The sheriff learned early in the investigation that the explosion was not terrorism, and he shared the news with Gov. Jim Gibbons, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and other federal, state and local politicians.

He said his detectives would work closely with ATF to find the killer, and he hoped tourists and residents would take comfort in knowing the explosion was not terrorism-related.

“I don’t want anyone to think Las Vegas is an unsafe place to visit based on this one incident,” Gillespie said.

Review-Journal reporters Alan Maimon and Adrienne Packer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

News Videos
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Mylar Balloon Demo
NV Energy presented a demonstration Wednesday to depict the damage that can be caused by the release of Mylar balloons.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students. Educators from around the State are bringing the Red for Ed movement to the steps of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, NV, and to the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing