(CNN) — A shooting and a fiery crash left three people dead in the neon heart of the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday, and police scrambled to find the gunman who triggered the carnage.
The bloodshed closed the Strip for about a block and a half around some of its biggest draws, leaving tourists gaping at the wrecked Maserati and a burned-out taxi where the victims were found. Four of the gambling mecca’s biggest casinos — Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, Bally’s and the Flamingo — are perched nearby, and police collected surveillance-camera video from them to help the probe.
It started around 4:20 a.m. with a dispute in the valet lot of the Aria Hotel, about a block away, Las Vegas Police Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said. The dispute spilled into the street as someone in a black Range Rover sport-utility vehicle shot at the Maserati as it drove up Las Vegas Boulevard, Gillespie said.
The Maserati moved into the intersection and collided with a taxi, which caught fire. The sports car’s driver, the cab driver and a passenger in the taxi died, Las Vegas Police spokesman Jose Hernandez told CNN.
A passenger in the Maserati was being treated for a minor injury, as were three other people involved in the subsequent pileup, Gillespie said. Meanwhile, Las Vegas police were looking for the Range Rover, which sped away from the intersection, and those inside it when the shooting happened.
“This act is totally unacceptable, and we are going to make a very clear message to these individuals in regards to that,” Gillespie said.
The block around the crash remained closed off Thursday afternoon. John Lamb, who was inside Caesars Palace, told CNN affiliate KLAS he heard the commotion and saw the taxi on fire from a window.
“There was a loud bang, and I hear two other booms. I looked out my window at Caesars Palace … and could see the fireball,” he told KLAS.
Police are looking for the occupants of the SUV, described as a black Range Rover Sport with tinted windows, large black rims and a dealer license plate not from Nevada, said police Sgt. John Sheahan.
Hernandez said he didn’t have information on what led to the shooting. The names of the dead and the injured were not immediately released.
CNN’s Miguel Marquez, Carol Costello, Jason Hanna and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.
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