Police: Suspect's bank card was declined at Starbucks drive-thru before deadly attack
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) - Las Vegas Metropolitan Police report that one person has been detained in connection with a fatal shooting at a Starbucks near W. Warm Springs Road and S. Rainbow Boulevard. SWAT has arrived on the scene.
LVMPD identified the suspect as 34-year-old Pedro Garcia. He is currently booked into the Clark County Detention Center and faces charges of open murder with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary while possessing a gun, and discharging a gun at or into an occupied structure,
News 3 viewer Bryan Dunlap sent us this photo of a man with his hands up. Reportedly he was being taken into custody by police. Police say the suspect's backpack and his vehicle were being investigated at the time because the suspect allegedly said there was an explosive device inside. The backpack was later deemed to be safe.
"We were less than five minutes away from walking into this situation," Dunlap said. "We watched one of the employees jump out of the drive-thru window and run across and police waved her over to get her to their side."
Metro officers confirmed the shooting was fatal. According to LVMPD Lt. Dan McGrath, the victim was described as a man in his 40s and was a regular customer in the store. Officers say he did not have a known connection to the suspect.
Police updated the media shortly around 1:20 p.m. and again at 3:15 p.m.
The suspect, later identified by Metro as Garcia, was described by police as a Hispanic man in his 30s. LVMPD Lt. Dan McGrath says the suspect has a violent criminal history and should not have been in possession of a gun.
Officers say the suspect first went through the Starbucks drive-thru and his card was declined. Seeing the customer was agitated, employees gave the man the water he asked for.
Afterward, the suspect went around the building and parked his car at the back of a Bank of America and went inside the Starbucks.
"We had this confrontation after he got denied ... he went back into the business and ended up shooting this individual who does not appear to be connected to him," said Lt. McGrath. "I was told the suspect shot into the air several times and threatened to shoot people in the business."
Officers say the suspect and victim had some type of confrontation inside before the victim was shot. The suspect also fired shots into the air and threatened to shoot the people around him inside the Starbucks.
The person who was reportedly shot in the chest was transported to Spring Valley Hospital, where he later died.
Businesses in the immediate area were evacuated. People in nearby businesses, including Walgreens and Walmart, spent about an hour sheltering in place.
"We were getting our nails done and we saw people running and some people screaming and someone ran in and said shut the doors ... we saw cops with sniper rifles hiding behind SUVs, pointed toward the Starbucks," said Amber Plourde. "We were single-file evacuated out of the back entrance of the salon."
Plourde was in a nail salon near the Starbucks getting her nails done with family members when the situation unfolded. She tells News 3 there were 13 people hiding in a back room at the nail salon and described what she saw during and after the incident.
"There was a man, young man, who must've helped the victim, sitting on a curb with blood on him, and he was obviously in shock and that really upset me and hit home," Plourde said. "Now I feel event worse for that poor young man knowing he tried to help, the man didn't make it."
Radio traffic indicated that a backpack was found in the doorway of the Starbucks and the suspect indicated to authorities that it contained an explosive device. Metro officers later deemed that backpack to be safe.
The original call was treated as a hostage situation, but according to Lt. McGrath, the suspect walked out of the business around seven minutes after the initial report of the shooting.
According to Lt. McGrath, the suspect called into the dispatch center multiple times from inside the business and gave false suspect descriptions.
The motivation for the shooting is unknown at this time.
A teenager selling newspapers outside was caught in the crossfire after he walked into the Starbucks shortly after the shooting.
"I looked to the right and there was people on the ground, then I looked to the left and there was somebody bloody on the ground," said 15-year-old Demontae Durggan.
Durggan described to News 3 what he saw as he took cover on the ground with other customers inside the cafe.
"When I was laying down he kept saying, 'Oh it's jammed, oh it's jammed,'" Durggan said. "When I looked at him, he looked nervous."
Customers inside decided to take action after the deadly shooting.
"First, we ran to the back where the refrigerators are, hid back there, and somebody locked the front door ... and we sat there for a while, calling the police," Durggan said. "I feel pretty lucky that he didn't go off and shoot everybody."
A homicide investigation is now underway at the scene and the area is still taped off.
Multiple agencies responded to the shooting, including authorities on the federal level.
Police indicate the shooting occurred about 11:30 a.m. at 7260 S. Rainbow Blvd.
This is the 124th homicide investigated by LVMPD in 2016.
This is a developing story that will be updated as more details become available.