Weekend Violence Mars NBA All-Star Experience


Even with all of the arrests and several violent crimes related to the All-Star game, the Clark County sheriff would welcome back the NBA event. 

He released the total number of arrests and said Metro spent as much money for police protection during the four days as they do during New Year’s Eve.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie says his officers performed as they should have and prevented total chaos at the NBA events.  He calls the weekend a success from a police standpoint. 

There were a total of 403 arrests. “The presence of police officers were very instrumental, I believe, in keeping this event as safe as it was,” Sheriff Gillespie said.

Still, there were four shootings related to NBA events.  A shooting in front of the Minxx Gentlemen’s Club injured three people. Witnesses say a fight inside the club led to the shooting outside.

Estrella, a Minxx dancer said, “A famous rapper, Nelly, came in. He spent so much money that people and customers were just going crazy.”
Three people were shot. One still remains in critical condition at the hospital. 

General Rudeness of NBA Fans Noticed

It wasn’t the shootings, but the general rudeness of the NBA fans which left a lasting impression for some in Las Vegans.

Teresa Frey, Coco’s general manager said, “I have been spit on. I have had food thrown at me. I have lost two servers out of fear. I have locked my doors out of fear of violence.”

“With any type of event you have a percentage of the attendees, or people who come and are not here for the right reasons,” said the sheriff.

The sheriff cannot arrest anyone for being rude, but he says officers did their best with an event lasting four days at a number of different places around the Las Vegas Strip. 

“There is always going to be issues that arise,” said Sheriff Gillespie.

For many people working on the Las Vegas Strip, those issues were enough to hope the All-Star game never returns. For the sheriff, he would support a rematch at the Thomas and Mack.

Prostitution Related Arrests Up Over All-Star Weekend

More than half of the arrests during the All-Star game were by Metro’s vice unit. Those are prostitution related offenses. 

The sheriff says when big events come to town, prostitution increases in Las Vegas. All-Star weekend was no different.

The Las Vegas community embraced the NBA and fans leading up to the weekend game, but for some businesses it was a bust.

“It was filled with an element of violence. They don’t want to pay their bills. They don’t want to respect us or each other,” said Frey.

Frey says she lost 20-percent of her revenue because of people walking out on their bills. She closed the 24-hour restaurant from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. out of concern.

Visitors Notice Different Kind of Atmosphere in Las Vegas

Visitors also felt the different kind of Las Vegas atmosphere. “There was a problem with the people trying walking in front of cars and things like that,” said David Hart, visitor from Houston.

“It was very crowded but we did get to where we were going,” said Gwen Hart, visitor from Houston.

Gwen and David Hart flew into town on Friday and when they saw the large groups of younger NBA fans, they say they avoided them to avoid problems.

That’s the same technique David Botero and his wife used. “It was definitely a Las Vegas we had not seen in the past. It was not vintage Vegas at all,” David Botero said.  He moved from Las Vegas to New York three years ago. His wife surprised him with a 30th birthday trip back to the city they both love. It turned out to be bad timing.

Although many Las Vegans, including Teresa Frey, support an NBA team in Las Vegas, she doesn’t want to see another All-Star game anytime soon.

“I know that any amount of revenue I made does not justify me being assaulted,” she said.

Email your comments to Reporter Edward Lawrence.

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