Three Dead In Las Vegas Strip Shooting Crash

Sky News US Team, in New York

Gunshots fired from a black Range Rover on the Las Vegas Strip have caused a Maserati to crash into a taxi, creating a fireball and killing three people.

Police believe the deadly car-to-car shooting and crash in the heart of the Strip at Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road started with an argument in the valet area of the Aria resort, Sheriff Doug Gillespie said.

The crossroads is the site of several major hotel-casinos, including Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Bally's.

"This doesn't happen where we come from, not on this scale," said Mark Thompson, who was visiting from Manchester, England, with his wife.

"We get stabbings, and gang violence, but this is like something out of a movie. Like Die Hard or something."

Police are looking for the distinctive black Range Rover with dark tinted windows and black rims that left the scene after the early morning crash.

Las Vegas Police Sergeant John Sheahan said the Range Rover was last seen near the Venetian resort as it headed north from the shooting scene on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Witnesses also told police the sport utility vehicle and Maserati had come from the nearby CityCenter area, just south of the site of the shooting.

"We have numerous witnesses to this," Sgt Sheahan said. "But what is the genesis of this? We don't know yet."

Police also have video from traffic cameras at the intersection and were checking hotel surveillance systems. The video will not be made public, Sgt Sheahan said.

In all, five vehicles were involved. The Maserati driver, the taxi driver and a passenger in the cab were killed.

The Range Rover has paper dealer plates, although it is not clear what state they are from, police said.

Authorities are checking with law enforcement agencies in California, Arizona and Utah in their search for clues.

The taxi was affiliated with the Desert Cab company, according to general manager Sandy Shaver. He declined to comment further.

Several people were taken to hospital, including a passenger from the Maserati. Four were taken to University Medical Centre where spokeswoman Danita Cohen said three people were treated and released.

One person remained in hospital whose condition was not released.

Sky's Jeff Randall, who was on the Las Vegas Strip, said it was one of the most surreal things he had ever seen in America.

"The strip is completely blocked off in a rather macabre way; it has now become a tourist scene because people are arriving here to take pictures," he said.

"People here are utterly bewildered because this is a city that has tried to portray itself as family friendly and the last thing in the world the leisure barons want here is a rolling gun battle and what police are describing as a massive crime scene."

The intersection is expected to be closed for hours as officers investigate.

A tourist who witnessed the aftermath of the crash told KLAS-TV the burning taxi looked like a fireball.

The shooting and crash is the latest in a series of violent actions on the tourist corridor since the beginning of the year.

Two people were critically wounded in a shooting at a parking garage on February 6, and a tourist was stabbed in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay on February 16.

A spokesman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Jeremy Handel, said his organisation did not immediately have a comment on the incident and deferred to the police unit that patrols the tourism district.