NEW: An autopsy is being performed on aspiring rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr., 27
Son sees cab afire, not realizing it was his father's, and calls to warn him
"He called and he didn't get a response," relative says
There is a nationwide manhunt for the suspect or suspects
Police are on an “intense” and “extremely focused” nationwide manhunt for the occupants of a black Range Rover at the center of a shooting on the Las Vegas Strip that claimed three lives.
The incident involved a Maserati that was shot at and subsequently crashed into a taxi, which caught fire.
The driver of the Maserati, whom family identified as Kenneth Cherry Jr., died at a hospital. The taxi driver and a passenger also died.
The shots were fired from the Range Rover, which Las Vegas police spokesman Bill Cassell said could be anywhere.
Police have received multiple reports of vehicles that match the description, but “at this point, we have no information that the vehicle in the crime has been located,” he said Friday.
Cassell declined to say whether there was one suspect or several, citing the ongoing investigation.
Cherry, an aspiring rapper known as Kenny Clutch, was driving his Maserati on Thursday when someone in the Range Rover fired several shots at his car as it headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The Maserati continued into the intersection of the boulevard and Flamingo Road and collided with a taxi, which caught fire, killing cab driver Michael Boldon, 62, CNN affiliate KVVU said.
“It is gut-wrenching,” Boldon’s younger brother, Tehran Boldon, tearfully told KVVU. “My life mission will be to see them punished and brought to justice for the senseless thing they did.”
In a separate interview Friday with CNN, Tehran Boldon said that his brother’s son is a limousine driver on the Las Vegas Strip and he called his father to warn him to avoid the area after seeing a car afire – not realizing that the taxi on fire belonged to his father.
“He saw the accident and he tried to warn his dad to say avoid Flamingo (Road)” because he knew his father was nearby at the Rio casino, Tehran Boldon said. “He called and he didn’t get a response. So his father was the fatality in that accident that he was being warned to avoid.
“We lost a real patriarch and brother,” said Tehran Boldon.
The son, 36, works the same shift as his father did. The father’s body was burned beyond recognition and was identified by his cab assignment, Tehran Boldon said. He is also trying to provide the coroner’s office with his brother’s dental records, he said.
A passenger in the taxi also died. A passenger in the Maserati and three others were injured in the pileup, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said.
The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner was conducting an autopsy of Cherry, 27, a representative said Friday. The office wasn’t releasing further information Friday about Boldon or his passenger.
The fire closed a block and a half of the Strip near some of its biggest draws: Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, Bally’s and the Flamingo. Police collected surveillance video from the casinos.
The shooting took place two blocks from where rapper Tupac Shakur was killed in 1996.
Cherry prominently features his Maserati in a music video on YouTube.
“Out of everyone I know in the rapping industry, there is no way I would have ever, ever expected to find that he was shot on the Las Vegas Strip in such an aggressive manner,” said Vicki Greco, Cherry’s attorney. “He didn’t have a (criminal) record or a history. He was just a good kid trying to make it and be a good father.”
Cherry had two children, she said.
“First time in Vegas, and then, like, the whole thing, what you know from movies only – I was shocked,” Christine Gerstenberger, who was visiting the desert gambling mecca from Germany, said Thursday afternoon. She and her brothers debated going back to the hotel “because I’m totally scared,” but “We’re too curious,” she said.
It started around 4:20 a.m. with a dispute in the valet lot of the Aria Hotel, about a block away, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said. Investigators haven’t confirmed the cause of the altercation, but he said it spilled onto the street as someone in a black Range Rover Sport fired several shots at the Maserati as it headed north on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The Maserati’s passenger and other witnesses are helping detectives piece together what happened, he said. The “top priority” for police is to find those who were inside the Range Rover, which sped away from the intersection.
The block around the crash remained closed off into 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.
CNN’s Cristy Lenz, Matt Smith, Tom Watkins, Jason Hanna and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.