LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The man who police say shot and killed a man before shooting at a Las Vegas school did so because the victim was “an alien” who wanted to be his brother, according to a report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

On Nov. 9 at around 7 a.m., LVMPD dispatch recieved several calls from people who reported hearing four to five gunshots, including a call from a man who said his vehicle was shot at while he was sitting in it at the Las Vegas Academy of Arts.

One of the callers called previously on Nov. 2 to report his gun was stolen, with the person of interest in the case named as Major Sanford, 44, who lived in the area, the report said.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested 44-year-old Major Sanford in connection with a homicide that occurred on November 9, 2023. (LVMPD)

Several callers said they saw a man with dreadlocks and face tattoos who was approximately 30 to 40 years old holding a gun, according to the report.

A witness told police she was walking toward the theatre building of the Las Vegas Academy of Arts when she heard five to seven “loud pops” and saw a man standing in the doorway of one of the apartments, the report stated.

She told police she saw him shooting at the theatre building “indiscriminately,” so she got into her friend’s car and they left the area. She later positively identified Sanford as the man she saw, according to the report.

Police later found three bullet impacts on the east side of the theater building.

Arriving officers saw Sanford leaving an apartment in the 400 block of South 10th Street near Clark Avenue. Police took Sanford into custody, and he told him he was carrying a small gun in a bag across his chest, the report stated.

“I killed that alien,” Sanford told police while they were arresting him.

Officers noticed two broken windows at Sanford’s apartment and conducted a welfare check in the apartment. They found the victim, identified as Shannon Awa, 46, lying on the floor of the bedroom. He was shot in the back of the head and the back of his left shoulder, according to the report.

Medical personnel pronounced him dead on the scene.

Sanford told police he lived in the apartment with his mother for the past two years, and his mother was recently admitted to a hospital for breathing troubles. When asked if any other family members lived with him, Sanford told police “that alien,” who he later clarified was “the person who was on the floor inside the apartment,” the report stated.

Sanford told police he called Awa an “alien” because Awa is “not his real brother although he wanted to be,” according to the report. Sanford said Awa was trying to “rob” him by taking his weed and gun and Sanford shot him twice.

When a detective asked him about the Nov. 2 incident involving a stolen gun, Sanford asked for a lawyer.

Sanford was facing the following charges:

  • Open murder with the use of a deadly weapon
  • Discharging a gun into an occupied structure (4 charges)
  • Possession of a gun by a prohibited person (2 charges)
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit
  • Grand larceny of a firearm
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

Court records revealed a history of arrests for Sanford in Clark County dating back to 2003 for theft, burglary, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and being an ex-felon with a deadly weapon, as well as other crimes. He also served time in the Nevada prison system.

Court records show Sanford was held at the Clark County Detention Center as of Monday. His next court appearance was scheduled for Jan. 11.