UPDATE: Prosecutors have declined to press charges against John Rao. He has since been released from the Clark County Detention Center.
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man who allegedly shot and killed his roommate after a fight over drugs claimed it was self-defense because he had “brittle bones” and didn’t want to get “beat up,” according to an arrest report.
On Sunday, April 30, 2023, at around 6:38 p.m., the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was called to the 6500 block of Bannock Way after a person called saying they had shot their roommate in self-defense, according to the report.
Arriving officers entered the home and found John Rao, 63, standing next to Wade Harrison, lying on the floor. Harrison had been shot in his stomach and was transported to an area hospital, where he died.
During the 9-1-1 call, dispatchers heard a male voice, determined to be Harrison, pleading with the Rao, asking for help.
According to the report, Rao replied, “What was I supposed to do? Let you beat me up?”
“You killed me [expletive]. Please help me, oh my god,” was Harrison’s response, the report stated.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the house, where they found a gun on the kitchen stove and a cartridge case on Rao’s bedroom floor.
Later in the evening, detectives interviewed another resident of the home, who told them that someone had overdosed on a baggie of what she believed to be illegal drugs found on the driveway of the home.
According to the report, that person was then taken to the hospital, where the interviewee met him. She told police that she contacted Harrison, who she identified as her roommate, and told him to destroy the illegal drugs.
She told police that shortly after that call, she received a phone call from Rao, who told her that the baggie of illegal drugs belonged to him and that he wanted it back, the report said.
According to the report, she told Rao that Harrison had destroyed the drugs by flushing them down the toilet. The interviewee stated that this made Rao upset.
Shortly after that phone call, the interviewee said she received a call from her great-grandson, who told her that Rao had shot Harrison. She told police that the two men had never been in a fight, nor had she ever seen Harrison threaten Rao.
According to the report, police also interviewed the great-grandson. He was in his bedroom playing video games when he heard Rao and Harrison arguing, followed by a loud bang that he thought sounded like a gun.
When he left his room, he saw Harrison holding his stomach and asking to call 9-1-1 while Rao stood holding a medium-sized handgun.
When Metro police interviewed Rao, he told them that Harrison confronted him and told him that it was Rao’s fault that an unidentified person had overdosed earlier. The two argued, and Rao called someone to “get Wade to back off” and to find out where the methamphetamines were.
According to Rao, this “triggered” Harrison, who did not want that person to know about his drug use. Rao told police that as Harrison was walking away, he called Harrison a “crystal-meth user” and that the drugs could have been Harrison’s.
According to the report, Harrison approached Rao and grabbed the front of his shirt, after which Rao grabbed his handgun, removed it from the holster, removed the safety, and fired at Harrison’s stomach.
Rao told police that he shot Harrison because he had “brittle bones” and did not want to get “beat up,” despite no history of Harrison ever hitting him.
When Rao was told Harrison was dead, he reportedly told police that he “should’ve taken the black eye.”