Las Vegas police announced the arrest of a man they believe is responsible for a late-night shooting spree that targeted homeless men sleeping on the streets. Joshua Castellon, the 26-year-old suspect, has been arrested on two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and a federal weapons charge in connection with the shootings.
The killings kicked off a far-ranging investigation that required help from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and sent an already vulnerable indigent population into panic mode.
The onslaught started at about 12:30 a.m. on the morning of January 29 and lasted more than seven hours. Police said Castellon first fired bullets outside a convenience store in Logandale, about 60 miles outside Las Vegas, hitting one man who survived the attack. Afterward, Castellon allegedly drove to a Las Vegas business at around 3 a.m. and fatally shot Brian Clegg, 51, a homeless man who had been sleeping on the street outside a flea market.
Another homeless man awoke just after 7 a.m. to discover he had been shot in the jaw area. He recovered from the shooting.
Then, on February 2, a man identified as James Edgar Lewis, 64, was found dead under a Las Vegas freeway. Surveillance footage of the killing was released to the public during a news conference helmed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The video shows a dark SUV passing Lewis, who looks to be sleeping under blankets on the sidewalk. After completing a U-turn, a man gets out of the SUV and walks up to Lewis and shoots him, almost at point-blank range.
“There's no fight,” said Lieutenant Dan McGrath. “There's no argument. It's basically an execution.”
Police had suspected Castellon since early February. An officer found him sleeping in a car and interviewed him on February 8, and a separate officer ran his license plate around the time and location of one of the shootings, according to NBC News. The Associated Press said a federal complaint shows that detectives contacted Castellon’s ex-wife on February 15, and she told authorities she believed Castellon had a pistol.
McGrath said the investigation zeroed in on Castellon around February 14 and incorporated anonymous tips, surveillance footage and firearm purchase records. Investigators have yet to determine a motive for the shootings, he said.
Castellon had a recent domestic violence incident and was dealing with a breakup. He slept in his car and at the homes of relatives, according to authorities.
“I wouldn’t be able to explain a motive on why somebody does this,” McGrath said. "But he did not explain a motive.... It appears totally random.”
Lewis' daughter, Oneida Lewis-Baker, told the Los Angeles Times that she was relieved a suspect had been taken into custody.
“It doesn't bring my dad back, but it helps to at least know who did it," Lewis-Baker told the paper. "I have a face and a name. I still don't have an answer to why, but at least that person is behind bars.