An apparently unprovoked stabbing attack outside a casino on the Las Vegas Strip, the glittering beacon for tourists from around the world, left two people dead and six others injured on Thursday, the authorities said.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not announce a motive for the attack but said that a suspect was in custody. A “large knife with a long blade” that was used in the stabbing spree was recovered at the scene, the police said.
“This is clearly a very tragic and hard-to-understand, hard-to-comprehend murder investigation,” Deputy Chief James LaRochelle of the Las Vegas police said.
Three of the victims were in critical condition and the others appeared to be in stable condition, Capt. Dori Koren of the Las Vegas police said at a news conference on Thursday afternoon.
The police did not announce the names of the victims but said they included local residents and tourists. They did not identify the suspect but said he was a Hispanic man in his early 30s who they believe did not live locally.
No other information about the victims or the suspect was released, but the police said that there was no further threat to the public.
The police said they received a report of a stabbing with multiple victims on the 3100 block of South Las Vegas Boulevard around 11:42 a.m. The address is near the Wynn Las Vegas casino, which is owned by Wynn Resorts, the company founded by the billionaire mogul Steve Wynn.
The attack began suddenly as the assailant stabbed two people on a sidewalk before heading south and stabbing five more people and an eighth in a third location, Chief LaRochelle said. The assailant then fled, followed by witnesses who were calling 911. He was taken into custody shortly after, he said.
The initial stabbing “appears unprovoked,” Chief LaRochelle said. “There is no altercation beforehand.”
A witness, Pierre Fandrich of Montreal, said he was on vacation with his wife and on his way to the Wynn casino when they passed by four women he described as showgirls. Mr. Fandrich said that about 10 seconds after passing the women he heard a loud scream.
He turned around and saw a woman on the ground in a pool of blood, he said in an interview late Thursday. He also saw another woman in the group, who also appeared to be injured, and other bystanders trying to help the woman on the ground, he said.
“It happened so fast,” said Mr. Fandrich, who added that he did not see the attack or the assailant. He also gave his account to KTNV, a local TV station.
Mr. Fandrich said his family will continue to visit Las Vegas, despite the attack.
“We’ll come back for sure,” he said, “but we’re very sad for the young ladies.”