Suspect arrested in killing at Las Vegas resort

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Updated Monday, May 19 at 6:08 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man who turned himself in to police after an aspiring rapper was shot and killed during a music video shoot at a Las Vegas resort told a friend he dropped his gun and it went off accidentally.

Jim Edward Johnson, 25, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of murder in the death of 25-year-old Evan Plunkett. The victim, a Henderson resident who served in the Marines and rapped under the name "Hollywood Will," was one of about 50 people partying in a posh suite at the Palms Casino Resort on Thursday night when he was shot near the suite's private pool, according to a police report.

Johnson's lawyer, William Terry, did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday.

Plunkett's brother told officers he and Evan Plunkett were fighting with another guest on the patio when a shot rang out and his brother fell to the ground. Some partygoers, including the suspect, ran for the doors and left the building through the stairwell, police said.

Plunkett's brother and other guests came to the victim's aid, but he succumbed to a gunshot wound to the chest a few hours later at a hospital. A single, .40-caliber cartridge case was found on a step in the swimming pool, police said.

The man who was fighting with the Plunkett brothers later flagged down an officer and said he wasn't involved in the shooting, naming a man he thought was the suspect, according to the report.

Detectives used that information to contact another witness, who told them he, Plunkett and Johnson were friends. Johnson told the witness the gun went off by accident and he planned to turn himself in, according to the report.

Johnson also gave up his two firearms when he surrendered.

A guest told police that just before the shooting, Johnson had been seated at a dining table with three handguns sitting on top of a large amount of marijuana.

The Palms is home to some of the most extravagant party suites in Las Vegas, including the 9,000-square-foot Sky Villa where the shooting occurred that rents for $40,000 a night and is nicknamed the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa after the Playboy founder.

Resort officials said they were cooperating with police on the investigation.

"We are saddened by this unfortunate, isolated incident, and our thoughts are with the victim's friends and family," they said in a statement last week. "The safety and security of our guests and team members are always our number one priority."

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