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Third victim of Vegas mayhem identified as Washington state woman

February 23, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • A wild shooting attack on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday morning caused a fiery crash with a taxi and left three people dead.
A wild shooting attack on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday morning caused… ( Jeff Scheid / Las Vegas Review-Journal )

The third victim killed in the wild attack on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday morning was a Seattle-area businesswoman on her way to the airport.

Sandi Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Maple Valley, Wash., was identified by the Clark County Coroner's Office on Friday night as the passenger in a taxi that burst into flames, killing her and the driver, Michael Boldon, 62. The cause of their deaths was listed as multiple blunt-force injuries.

The cab had been struck by a Maserati that lost control after being struck by bullets fired from a Range Rover on the Strip, police said. The Maserati's driver was Ken Cherry, 27, a rap artist with the stage name Kenny Clutch, who died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the coroner's office said.

The Range Rover got away and is the subject of a widespread hunt.

Valerie Darling, who works for a limousine company that often posts cars at the Aria hotel, told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that the occupants of both vehicles had been in the Haze Nightclub at the hotel and had left after the 4 a.m. closing time. Police suspect that the shooting may have begun after an argument near the valet area.

“No stone is being left unturned," Las Vegas police spokesman Marcus Martin told The Times on Saturday. "I personally know detectives that don’t have a family life and aren’t sleeping."

Martin declined to say whether police have made any arrests. “We have tons of information; it’s just not releasable at this point," he said.

"People are so conditioned by television … they don’t realize these things take time. It’s been ramped up in ways I can’t describe to you."

Sutton-Wasmund was listed as the owner of All Service Plumbing in Maple Valley with her husband, Jimmy, according to the Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, for which Sutton-Wasmund had served many roles, including chairwoman.

"On behalf of Sandi’s family, Sandi was a loving wife, mother, daughter and sister," the family said in a statement, according to KING-TV. "Her innocent and tragic loss will be felt by all of those who knew and loved her and by the community at large. Her family appreciates the out pouring of love and support, and respect for privacy shown throughout this very difficult time."

Sutton-Wasmund was a two-time breast-cancer survivor, KING-TV reported.

She also co-owned a dress shop and had been visiting Las Vegas for a trade convention when she was killed, the Associated Press reported.

"It's a big loss," Debbie Tvedt, the office manager for Sutton-Wasmund's plumbing company, said in a tearful telephone interview with AP. "This woman was everything to this community."

Sutton-Wasmund was Boldon's first cab fare of the day, and he was driving her to the airport, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

"He could have very easily took what they call the long route," Derrick Miller, a friend and a fellow driver at Desert Cab Inc., told the Sun, referring to a trick that would have cost his rider a higher fare.

"But Mike was going the right way," Miller told the Sun. "Every driver out here says if he had taken the long route, taken the tunnel, he would have still been alive. That just blows my mind that his last act on the planet was doing the right thing. He was giving a great ride, a fair ride, to a person. He was doing his job as an ambassador to the city and they both exited out to heaven."

Miller said Boldon had just paid off a house in Detroit and bought another in Las Vegas with his sister. His 63rd birthday would have been in two weeks.

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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