A man who went on a stabbing attack with a large kitchen knife on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, killed at least two people and injured six more before he was taken into custody, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have confirmed.
The motive of the man is unknown, police said in a release, adding that he will be booked into the Clark Count Detention Center.
Authorities announced at a press conference that the suspect identified himself to police and they are working to determine his “true identity.” They described him as Hispanic and in his 30s, and said he does not appear to be a Las Vegas resident.
The stabbing took place in front of a casino in the 3100 block of South Las Vegas Boulevard. Police had received a report around 11:42 a.m. local time about the attack.
Of the eight victims that officers found, “[o]ne of those victims was pronounced deceased at the scene, and a second victim was pronounced deceased at University Medical Center,” according to the department.
“The remaining victims were transported to area hospitals. Currently, three of them are in critical condition and the others are stable,” it added.
Witnesses told Las Vegas TV stations that some of the victims appeared to be showgirls or street performers who take pictures with tourists on the Strip.
One woman told ABC-affiliate KTNV that the suspect told her he was a chef and that he wanted to take a picture with some of the showgirls with his knife, but then he started stabbing people when the group declined the man’s request or offer.
One witness, Pierre Fandrich, told the outlet he thought he heard “three or four showgirls laughing,” and it turned out to be screaming. He noted that while he didn’t see the stabbing suspect as he was walking along the Strip, he saw “a lot of blood” as one woman ran across a bridge, one was on the ground, and another had a stab wound on her back as she tried to help the fallen woman.
Fandrich also told KTNV that he thought one of the victims fell from the bridge because there was so much blood on the ground.
At a press conference in the stabbing’s aftermath, James LaRochelle, the department’s deputy chief, said the initial stabbing appeared unprovoked and took place on the eastern sidewalk of Las Vegas Boulevard.
“And then, the suspect subsequently goes southbound on the sidewalk area and stabs additional victims, five victims there,” he added. “And there was an additional victim on the south side of sands also.”
The Clark County Coroner’s Office will later release the names of the victims, as well as the cause and manner of death. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said the names of the two people killed were being withheld until their relatives can be notified.
The suspect fled and was followed by 911 callers before he was taken into custody, authorities said.
LaRochelle said that police recovered a “large knife with a long blade” they believed was used in the stabbing. He called the case a “hard-to-comprehend murder investigation.”
Police said the investigation is ongoing and urged anyone with information about the incident to contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Section, or if they want to remain anonymous, they can contact Crime Stoppers.
Lombardo said at the press conference: “It’s very difficult in one-off events such as this to prevent it from happening without any intelligence that it may occur. But important for people to realize the response is as important as it is in preventing to stop the harm and the loss of life associated with these types of events.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.