A teenager was arrested today in the shooting death of his mother in North Las Vegas, but the motive behind the slaying is not yet known.
Mitchell Theodore Lavender, 19, is accused of killing the 52-year-old woman early today inside the family’s home on Cobblestone Cove Road, near Washburn Road and Bruce Street, according to North Las Vegas police.
Officers went to the house at 12:55 a.m. after receiving reports of gunshots. Upon arrival, police found a woman who had been critically shot. She was transported to University Medical Center, where she died.
Police did not immediately release the name of the victim or the relationship between the suspect and the victim. North Las Vegas police Sgt. Tim Bedwell confirmed that both were related and lived in the house.
A friend of the victim who asked to remain anonymous identified the slain woman as Michelle Lavender, a former police dispatcher in the Detroit area. She said Lavender had been diagnosed with multiple brain aneurysms before she left Michigan for Las Vegas and had been told she had just “several years to live.”
“She was just trying to get out and make the best of her life,” said the friend, who lives in Michigan. “We expected to get a phone call about her death, but not like this.”
Neighbor Tom Perretta, 50, confirmed that Mitchell Lavender was the son of the victim. Perretta said he did not hear the gunshots but spoke to police outside the house.
“They just said there had been a dispute and a woman had been shot,” he said.
Perretta said the family from Detroit moved into the house in April or May. A Jeep in the Lavenders’ driveway had a Michigan license plate.
The family was renting the house, Perretta said. The mother and father were unemployed, he said, and an older son in his 20s worked at Nellis Air Force Base.
The family had told Perretta that the suspect, Mitchell Lavender, had moved back to Michigan in search of a job. Perretta said he hadn’t known that the teen had returned to Las Vegas.
The owner of the house was reached in Washington, D.C., this morning. The owner, who asked not to be named, said she hadn’t spoken to North Las Vegas police and had just found out that a woman was killed inside the house.
She declined to confirm the names of the renters.
“Obviously, something very bad happened last night,” she said.
Police had left the scene by 8 a.m. today. A man who appeared to be in his early 20s, wearing a camouflage jacket, arrived at the house about 9 a.m. but declined to speak about the slaying.
“I’m not allowed to say anything,” he said.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.
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