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Las Vegas shooting, crash suspect nabbed week later in L.A.

By Erica Henry and Greg Botelho, CNN
March 1, 2013 -- Updated 0403 GMT (1203 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two drivers had a "brief exchange" before one opened fire, arrest warrant says
  • Police say Ammar Harris, 26, fired at a Maserati, which then crashed into a taxi in Las Vegas
  • Facing 11 charges, Harris is arrested "without incident" in Los Angeles, police say
  • Three others in his Range Rover with Harris "are not suspects," a police lieutenant says

(CNN) -- One week after an all-too-real scene befitting a movie played out on the famed Las Vegas Strip -- a pre-dawn shooting that sparked a deadly, fiery crash -- the man authorities suspect started it all is finally under arrest.

Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, 26, was apprehended around noon (3 p.m. ET) on Thursday in North Hollywood, California, said FBI spokeswoman Lourdes Arocho.

FBI agents and members of the Los Angeles Police Department's Fugitive Task Force made the arrest, according to Arocho.

Harris was detained "without incident" in the Los Angeles neighborhood and will be held pending extradition proceedings, Las Vegas police said in a news release.

"Mr. Harris is in custody, and that's where we hope to keep him," said Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Steiber.

Three dead after shooting in Las Vegas

This all went down 275 miles southwest from where, authorities say, Harris was at the wheel of a black Range Rover around 4:15 a.m. last Thursday when he pulled up to a Maserati and yelled at its driver, Kenneth Cherry, an aspiring rapper known as Kenny Clutch, a witness said, according to the arrest warrant. The Maserati's driver opened his window and the two then had a "very brief exchange" before the light turned green and they headed off.

A few minutes later, the Range Rover's driver opened fire -- in two separate bursts -- at the Maserati, which was heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard, authorities said.

The sequence ended with Cherry shot in the chest and arm. His vehicle collided with a taxi, which caught fire.

The crash killed cab driver Michael Boldon and a passenger, Washington state resident Sandra Sutton-Wasmund. The 27-year-old Cherry later died at a hospital.

"I can't imagine anything more serious than firing a weapon from a moving vehicle into another moving vehicle on a corner such as Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo," Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfson said Thursday. "That is reckless. It disregards human life."

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department identified Harris as the shooting suspect on Saturday, at which time they said his vehicle had been impounded. He had an "extensive and violent criminal history" and was considered armed and dangerous, according to police.

Harris is charged with three counts of murder and "other attendant felonies," according to Wolfson. The 11 charges include firing at a vehicle, firing from a vehicle and attempted murder, the criminal complaint states. Additional charges could be coming.

Las Vegas Strip shooting suspect named, car impounded

The whole scene played out February 21 in the middle of the Las Vegas tourist hub, closing a block and a half of the well-known boulevard near some of the Nevada city's biggest draws -- Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, Bally's and the Flamingo.

Seventeen years earlier, legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was shot dead two blocks from the accident scene.

On Tuesday, police said they looking for a woman in connection with the latest shooting, adding that she was believed to be inside the Range Rover when the shots were fired.

At the time, they characterized her as missing and possibly endangered.

The photos they released, however, showed the wrong woman. Earlier Thursday, Las Vegas police said they no longer considered the woman -- identified as Yenesis Alfonso, also known as Tineesha Howard -- "a missing person or a person of interest."

A woman who identified herself as Howard's mother told CNN that her daughter and Harris have been girlfriend and boyfriend for about a year.

Steiber said this woman indeed had been in the Range Rover that Thursday morning with Harris and "is safe." She and two other passengers in the vehicle "are not suspects" and authorities currently do not have any plans to charge them, the lieutenant said.

As to Harris, the local district attorney said all the information compiled thus far -- especially shooting into such a busy intersection, endangering an untold number of innocent people -- will be weighed in a decision on whether to seek the death penalty.

"There are certain consequences when you engage in that kind of behavior," Wolfson said. "Thank God only three people lost their lives ... It could have been worse."

Las Vegas police issue wrong photographs of 'person of interest'

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