LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The suspect in a shooting that left three wounded at a 7-Eleven near Downtown Las Vegas is a multi-convicted felon out of Texas, according to an arrest report obtained by 8 News Now. Phillip Nichols was reportedly carrying three firearms and faces the following charges:
- Battery with a deadly weapon
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Discharging a gun within a structure, vehicle or prohibited area
- Ownership or possession of a gun by prohibited person
- Kidnapping in the first degree executed with a deadly weapon
- Child abuse/neglect
- Child abuse/neglect with substantial bodily harm
- Conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon
- Conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon
A second suspect, Ledaxjia Montgomery was also listed in the report.
On March 29 around 4:02 p.m., Metro received several reports of a shooting at the 7-Eleven on the southwest corner of Charleston and Las Vegas boulevards. Callers reportedly said a male in his 20s shot three people before fleeing the scene in a red sedan.
Responding officers found the victims on the scene suffering from gunshot wounds. One had been struck twice in his right arm and once in his left leg. The second was struck at least once in the abdomen, and the third sustained three wounds to his left leg.
A witness followed the suspect vehicle, a red 2003 Dodge Neon with Texas plates, from the scene, reporting its location to police. Patrol officers responded to the area of Paradise and Flamingo and located the suspect vehicle.
When officers initiated a traffic stop, the Neon fled, leading to a pursuit that ended with the suspect vehicle crashing into two vehicles at the intersection of Desert Inn and Joe W. Brown. Four occupants fled the car, with the driver, identified as Montgomery, and two rear passengers soon taken into custody. One of the passengers suffered a fractured ankle when she was struck by a car while fleeing.
Police say cartridges of different calibers were visible inside the suspect vehicle.
Metro’s air unit observed Nichols carrying a black backpack as he fled. That backpack was no longer with him when he came out from under a row of big rig trailers parked in a 7-Eleven lot in the 800 block of Desert Inn. He was taken into custody, and the backpack soon recovered. The report says the contents included:
- Taurus G2C 9mm semi-automatic pistol
- Taurus PT840 0.40 caliber semi-automatic
- Disassembled AR-style pistol
- Multiple small baggies, containing a green leafy substance
- Digital scale
- Black ski mask
Police also discovered casings at the scene of the crime that corresponded with the shooting, as well as the roadway in the area.
According to the arrest report, Nichols, a multi-convicted felon out of Texas, had an active warrant in Texas. Due to these facts, he was not allowed to legally own, transport or possess firearms.
Police conducted several interviews.
The first witness was stopped at a red light near the scene of the crime when he saw a fight between several males in front of the 7-Eleven. He described a shorter Black male in his 20s being pursued by a taller Black male in his 30s, with a white male nearby taunting the younger male. He told police he saw a Black female hand a pistol to the shorter male, who attempted to fire at the taller man. After fixing the firearm following malfunctions, he says the shorter male began shooting at the taller male while running. The female then got into the Neon, soon followed by the shooter. He says he heard more gunshots after the Neon left, then followed the suspect vehicle. He says he saw at least three people in the car.
A second witness was in an auto shop near the scene when he heard multiple gunshots. He saw a white male running from the bus stop toward the auto shop. He then described the suspect vehicle, and told police he saw a Black male hanging out the front passenger window, firing a pistol at the male and striking him in the leg. He then assisted the victim.
A third witness was sitting at the bus stop near the 7-Eleven when he heard a commotion in the parking lot. He told police it sounded like a female was yelling and screaming. A shirtless Black male with tattoos ran toward the bus stop, when he says a second male followed the man, allegedly saying, “I told you I would handle it!” He recounted bullets flew past him, and that he ducked down, sustaining scrapes and bruises as he hit the ground. He says he saw a white male hit by several bullet rounds and saw the shirtless man run and hide behind a power box. He then heard a male voice from the suspect car yell, non-verbatim, “Get him!” He recounted a Black male passenger stick his arm out the Neon and fire more rounds at the man behind the box.
Police then interviewed one of the victims who told police he and a friend were at an AMPM near the area of the crime fixing a car. They made their way to the 7-Eleven and recognized someone at the store who the friend allegedly had an altercation with three days earlier. The victim did not know what that fight was about. He said the friend recognized the Neon out front, then proceeded to describe the altercation inside the 7-Eleven that spilled outside. He says the male from the fight ran toward them with a handgun, leading him to run. The victim told police he heard several shots behind him, then realized he’d been shot. He then recounted seeing the man with the gun run back to the Neon, which fled, followed by a volley of more gunshots. The victim and his friend then went back to the convenience store for help.
Surveillance video helped police determine what happened during the altercation. The report says Nichols and Montgomery were shown waiting to pay for merchandise. Two males reportedly entered the store and immediately attacked Nichols. Police describe Montgomery trying to intervene, when one of the individuals throws several kicks to keep her away. After Nichols was slammed into the counter, he and Montgomery fled. The video reveals Montgomery retrieving a bag from the Neon, taking out a pistol and attempting to manipulate it. She then gives it to Nichols and retrieves another pistol.
According to the report, the video showed the other individuals involved stand by a fence. Nichols then pointed the firearm at them, causing one to move away and the other to back away. Nichols reportedly fired at one individual, then chased after the other who fled and fired more rounds. The video showed the suspect flee the scene.
Police say the video also indicated one rear passenger not seen on video was likely inside the Neon, and the other passenger was near the car during the incident, but got back in when Montgomery handed Nichols the pistol.
Police interviewed both rear passengers. Both told police similar stories about coming from Texas to Las Vegas days before the incident. The passenger who fractured her ankle told police the group had been selling marijuana to make money and was staying at a motel in the area. The second said he’d driven from Waco, Texas, to Vegas with the two female occupants and had been staying at a motel with them. The first passenger told police she believes the altercation in the 7-Eleven occurred due to a previous fight she thinks had to do with one of the males hitting on or speaking to Ledaxjia. The second passenger told police one of the men involved in the fight had been staying at the same motel as them, and he believes Nichols and the man knew each other from the motel. Both proceeded to describe the 7-Eleven altercation.
Both passengers told police they were scared during the incident. The girl was transported to Child Haven after her interview.
Police then interviewed Montgomery. She told officers she and three of her friends drove to Vegas from Texas to visit California. She recounted her version of the events, saying her friend got into a fight with a Black male and white male at the 7-Eleven. When she and her friend left, he reportedly asked her to give him one of his guns. She did so and described the shooting. The report says Montgomery said her friend brought a “bag of guns” with him from Texas. She noted he’d brandished them before but had never shot anyone. Police asked why she fled the scene, to which she replied she was scared and her friend told her not to stop.
The final interview was with Nichols, who told police one of the men who attacked him in the 7-Eleven was someone he’d had issues with since arriving in Vegas. The other was an unknown white male. He described getting grabbed, punched and head butted. The report says he saw the white male kneeing and kicking Montgomery. He described going outside with Montgomery and running away from the men, one of whom was reportedly wielding a car battery in self defense.
Nichols told police he “blacked out” and doesn’t know what happened then, but according to the report, he indicated someone at the bus stop or in the area fired more rounds. Police say he later recalled more details, including shooting out the car. He claimed shooting in self-defense, first due to thinking one of the men had a firearm, then because he didn’t want the man with the battery to throw it at the car’s windshield. Police say the location of the battery and trajectory of rounds fired were not consistent with Nichols’ story.
According to the report, Nichols told officers he was scared after the shooting and told Montgomery to keep driving because he was afraid of being shot by law enforcement.
He reportedly told police he knew it was illegal for him to own a firearm as a felon. Nichols then described how he obtained them on the streets, with a seller revealing one of them was “stolen.” He says he traded methamphetamine for the AR in Arizona, then got the 9mm in Texas before making the trip to Vegas. These firearms, he notes, were in the backpack he fled the crash scene with.
The report says Nichols was admitted to UMC for injuries sustained and booked in absentia.