Teen may have been killed during modified game of Russian roulette, authorities say
iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) — A teen in Nevada may have been shot and killed last week during a game of Russian roulette with several juveniles present, according to local police.
Evidence of the shooting was found on one of the suspect’s cell phones, where he brags in text messages and self-made videos that he “caught a body,” according to an arrest report released by the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services. The videos also contained images showing the victim bleeding on the ground, the report states.
The suspects were arrested Friday after a Henderson Police officer initiated a traffic stop on a silver Mercedes that had committed traffic and vehicle violations, the report states.
When the officer attempted to stop the car, the driver ran a red light and fled at a high rate of speed before crashing into the perimeter of a gas station, authorities said. Several occupants then fled on foot.
One of the passengers was immediately apprehended, while the driver and rear passenger were apprehended a short time later, police said. Investigators later determined that the Mercedes had been reported stolen out of Las Vegas, the report states.
During an interview with detectives, the driver admitted to having a role in stealing the car but also told police that he had been present during a murder that took place earlier in the day, according to the report. The driver said that both the person who was killed and the person who shot him were friends of his.
The driver said that while he and several other minors were at at a home in Henderson, his friend pulled out his revolver to show the group. Someone then proposed a game of Russian roulette, a game where a single bullet is loaded into a revolver, the cylinder is spun, and the person carrying it aims the gun at himself and pulls the trigger, police said.
Instead, the owner of the gun stated that he doesn’t allow others to handle the firearm or pull the trigger, the report stated. He then shot and killed the teen, the driver of the Mercedes told police.
The driver said that he and another witness fled the residence together and that other witnesses also fled without attempting to render aid or call 911, according to the report.
The driver then agreed to lead investigators to the home where the murder took place. When they arrived, they found the victim deceased inside.
The victim was found to have suffered from a single gunshot wound to the face, and evidence suggests that his body had been moved from the kitchen to a downstairs closet after he was shot, according to the report.
The next day, detectives interviewed a second suspect, and he “consistently lied and withheld information regarding his involvement in the murder,” according to the report.
The suspect eventually relented when investigators told him what the driver said in his interview the day before, providing a similar version of what happened, but stating that he wasn’t the person who shot and killed the victim, according to the police report.
The suspect claimed that he didn’t own a firearm and that after the victim was shot and killed, he fled the residence. During a follow-up interview, he told police that he and another witness returned to the scene after fleeing because he “didn’t feel right just leaving his friend,” according to the report.
The suspect also made it clear to police that he and the other witness never called 911, didn’t attempt to render aid and began to clean up the scene, fearing they had left evidence such as fingerprints and DNA behind, the report states.
The admission was consistent with what investigators observed at the residence, which included a puddle of water throughout the kitchen area and cleaning supplies located near a pool of blood that had been covered with towels, according to the report. The suspect also admitted that it was him who dragged the victim’s body into a nearby closet and covered it with a plastic sheet.
In addition, someone had spray-painted “F— [redacted]” on the closet door where the victim was found, according to the report.
A Ruger .357 revolver with one expended cartridge casing was found under the front passenger seat during the search of the Mercedes, police said. Cell phones that were also recovered from the car contained “self-made videos” from inside the residence that allegedly show the suspect handling and posing with firearms, including the revolver that was recovered in the Mercedes, according to the report.
One video allegedly depicts the suspect holding the revolver, which is shown to only have one loaded bullet in the cylinder, the report states.
In the video, taken at 12:59 p.m. on Friday, the suspect points the cellphone camera to himself and mimics a shooting gesture with the gun, police said.
In a second video taken nearly two hours later, the suspect allegedly speaks into the camera and says, “Bro, I just caught a body,” police said. The phrase refers to somebody admitting that they have killed someone, the report states.
The suspect then turns the camera toward the kitchen floor, where the victim is seen lying in a pool of his own blood. Different angles show that the victim was still actively bleeding when the video was shot, according to the report.
A third video, taken at 2:50 p.m. that day, shows that the body has been moved and is now face-down. Another voice in the background asks if they are going to just leave the body there, and the suspect walks over to the kitchen sink, wets his hands, and begins to clean his shoes, police said.
Outgoing text messages also reveal that the suspect allegedly bragged to a friend that he “caught a body” and that he “popped his on accident,” according to the report.
The victim’s wallet was found in the Mercedes, which was notable to detectives because the shooting suspect allegedly “didn’t feel right just leaving his friend,” but “the fact that they stole his wallet speaks otherwise,” the report states.
On Saturday, during a third interview with the shooting suspect, he again denied that he was the one who pulled the trigger. But, when police showed him the videos recovered from his cell phone, he “completely broke down and admitted his involvement,” this time claiming it was an accident fueled by him being high on Xanax, according to the report.
The shooting suspect also confirmed that the victim’s wallet had been stolen, and the $300 that was taken was later used to buy shoes and drugs that evening, police said.
One suspect was charged with murder with a deadly weapon and robbery, and another suspect was charged with accessory to murder after the fact, destroying evidence and robbery, according to the report.
The suspects were also given charges for the stolen vehicle, according to the report. The Mercedes had been reported stolen earlier this month, ABC Las Vegas affiliate KTNV reported.
The names of the suspects were redacted from the arrest report, and police are trying to identify the other witnesses who were present during the shooting.
Authorities determining whether to try the shooting suspect as an adult, court records show.
Both of the suspects are teens, ages 16 and 17, and the victim was 17 years old, according to KNTV. The home where the victim was shot is abandoned, the station reported.
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