LAS VEGAS NV July 19 2017 A man in police custody after barricading himself inside a vehicle on I-15 at St. Rose Parkway on Thursday is now facing terrorism charges.
Elkadmiri Kareem, 51, was arrested on charges of committing an act of terrorism, driver disobeying a peace officer, and destroying the property of another with damages between $250 - $5,000.
While the barricade was reported around 8:40 p.m. on Thursday, that's not where the suspect's run-in with Las Vegas law enforcement began.
The day before, on July 12, the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center received a suspicious activity report from the SLS Hotel security, regarding the malicious destruction of private property at the SLS casino.
According to a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department arrest report, the suspicious activity report stated that a Lincoln vehicle bearing California license plates drove to the property on July 9.
The act resulted in the destruction of control valves to the sprinkler system in the garage, along with destroying a Natural Gas line valve, leaking a large amount of gas out into the open.
Security stated the suspect used what appeared to be a metal pipe to destroy the items.
Once complete, security states that the suspect stationed his car in the West Garage of the SLS Hotel and pulled out his windshield sun visor to utilize as a prayer mat, getting on his hands and knees and placing his head on the ground, beginning to pray.
Detectives with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Henderson Police Department responded to the SLS on July 13, regarding the suspicious activity report. They reviewed surveillance video from the garage, determining the incident happened around 3 p.m. on July 9.
Video shows that the suspect originally pulled onto Paradise Road from Sahara Avenue, stopping in the travel lane next to the SLS. The suspect then got out of the vehicle and damaged a landscaping sprinkler system belonging to the SLS.
He proceeded to drive southbound on Paradise and again park in the street, exiting his vehicle and going to what was described by SLS maintenance as a gas main. Video observed the damage to the gas main, releasing natural gas.
Minutes later, he was seen hitting a fire suppression water valve in the east parking garage of the SLS, ultimately damaging the valve.
About an hour later, the suspect was seen parking his vehicle in a spot in the hotel's west parking garage where he was believed to be praying on the ground next to the car. The suspect then returned to the car and stayed there for over an hour before driving around a pillar that blocks the view of security cameras.
The initial value estimate from SLS for the damage was estimated around $2,500.
Upon reviewing the video, one detective recognized the suspect's car from a car stop he assisted patrol officers with on July 5. Patrol units responded to a residence regarding a man in a black Lincoln Town Car, drinking out of the resident's garden hose. Patrol officers also noted the vehicle had a broken rear window with what officers thought may be a bullet hole in it.
According to police, the suspect, identified as Kareem, was verbally combative with officers and kept trying to leave. He told the detective he was a limo driver from San Bernardino and had been in Las Vegas for a week. He further stated that he was in town to meet friends but was unable to get in contact with them, so he was sleeping in his car. He also stated that he had visited a local Mosque to seek help, but that they refused to help him.
After reviewing the SLS video surveillance, detectives determined that if maintenance had not discovered the gas leak, the gas could have ignited and caused serious injuries or death to people in the area and hotel, as well as extensive damage to the hotel structure, resulting in them issuing an attempt to locate the suspect.
Around 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, a suspicious vehicle was reported near Durango Drive and Summerlin Parkway. Police say the occupant refused to obey officer's commands to exit the vehicle and instead remained in the car, so police set up a perimeter around the vehicle.
About an hour later, the suspect drove out of the police perimeter onto Westcliff Drive, causing officers to begin a pursuit. After being advised of the dangerous nature of the report, after the suspect vehicle was seen driving 60 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone, as well as driving into oncoming traffic, patrol units backed off and attempted to follow from a distance.
Officers continued to follow the suspect vehicle until it was seen pulling over on I-15 at the St. Rose Parkway overpass. The driver remained in the vehicle for the next several hours, only leaving twice to go to the trunk.
The suspect, again, identified as Kareem, was then seen removing a red gas can from the trunk and returning to the inside of his vehicle.
Based on the previous accounts of destruction at the SLS that could endanger the lives of innocent civilians, the perimeter was moved back until SWAT could arrive.
Around 11:45 p.m., Kareem was taken into custody and placed under arrest.
While detectives began their interview, Kareem stated he had ingested methamphetamine but could not remember when.
In response to detectives asking why he did not obey police commands during the traffic stop earlier in the evening, Kareem stated he "was tired of the police bothering him and that he just wanted to get back to California."
Based on Kareem's alleged actions at the SLS, detectives charged Kareem with committing an act of terrorism.
Kareem is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $5 million bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on August 2.