3 indicted in Vegas in 2-state Thanksgiving shooting rampage
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Three people from Texas were indicted Wednesday in Las Vegas on charges including murder and terrorism stemming from a series of shootings last Thanksgiving in southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, including the apparently random killing of a man at a convenience store.
The indictment in Nevada state court included 53 charges each against Shawn McDonnell, his brother Christopher McDonnell, and Christopher McDonnell’s wife, Kayliegh Lewis.
Each was being held in the Clark County jail in Las Vegas pending arraignment on the indictment that could get them the death penalty or multiple sentences of life in prison without parole.
Shawn McDonnell, 31, is additionally charged with felony resisting arrest. He was shot and wounded by Arizona state Department of Public Safety troopers after allegedly pointing a gun as they approached him in a crashed vehicle following a vehicle chase near the Colorado River town of Parker, Arizona.
His attorney, Christopher Oram, did not immediately respond to messages.
Christopher McDonnell, 29, is additionally charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was not supposed to have weapons after a 2018 felony conviction for assault on a family member in Anderson County, Texas, according to the indictment.
His attorney, Ryan Bashor, said he will fight the charges, and he will present evidence to argue against Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson seeking the death penalty.
Tony Sgro, the attorney for Lewis, 25, said she will fight the charges and he expected “a lot of information will come out” that has not been made public.
Wolfson characterized the alleged crime spree, including the early Nov. 26 shooting death of Kevin Mendiola Jr., 22, in suburban Henderson as “heinous and random.” Several people also were wounded.
The crimes amounted to terrorism not because specific people were allegedly targeted, prosecutor Michael Schwartzer said, but because they were an attempt to “cause great harm to the general population.”
“This act of mass violence left both physical and emotional scars on the victims and their families,” Wolfson said, offering condolences to victims of the 11-hour rampage.
“The best way we can honor them is by seeking justice on their behalf, and we are doing that with the most serious charges possible,” he said.
Incidents started with reports of apparently random vehicle-to-vehicle shootings in Nevada and ended after the chase involving the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash of a black car with a Texas license plate and the wounding of Shawn McDonnell by troopers wielding assault-style rifles in La Paz County, Arizona.
Defense attorneys are expected to challenge the indictment and the prosecution of the McDonnells and Lewis in Las Vegas for acts alleged to have happened in two states.
Wolfson said previously he could handle the prosecution under a court doctrine of “long-arm jurisdiction.”
By KEN RITTER