Las Vegas police say suspects tried to rob victim before Motel 6 - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Las Vegas police say suspects tried to rob victim before Motel 6 murder

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Damari Humphrey, Nicholas Johnson and Melisa Espinoza (LVMPD) Damari Humphrey, Nicholas Johnson and Melisa Espinoza (LVMPD)
Police block off the scene of a shooting investigation in Las Vegas. (Luis Marquez/FOX5) Police block off the scene of a shooting investigation in Las Vegas. (Luis Marquez/FOX5)

Three people have been arrested in a deadly shooting at an off-Strip Motel 6 last month, police said.

Police said the two men and a woman planned to rob the victim, identified as 38-year-old Tommie Burnside, Jr., when he was killed on April 9.

[RELATED: Victim identified after fatal shooting at Motel 6 near Las Vegas Strip]

Melissa Espinoza, 28, checked into the Motel 6 near Dean Martin Drive and Tropicana Avenue on April 4, according to police records. Five days later, she, two men and a juvenile witness were seen on video surveillance making multiple trips to and from the motel.

About 9 p.m., police said Espinoza and the two men, 23-year-old Nicholas Johnson and 18-year-old Damari Humphrey, met with another man on the property. They appeared to have a “lengthy conversation.”

Within the hour, the two men went to Burnside’s room where they said Johnson and Humphrey rushed in and a struggle occurred. Witnesses told police Johnson shot Burnside at least once, according to a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department warrant.

Burnside was taken to University Medical Center and later died of his injuries.

After the shooting, police connected a light-colored Lincoln Navigator to Espinoza. The vehicle was tracked by an active GPS device and was located the next day at Espinoza’s boyfriend’s home. The juvenile witness, who police did not identify, was seen in the vehicle before it left the area.

Detectives were contacted by Espinoza on April 11, police records show. She was told police wanted to speak with her, however she fled the state that night.

Espinoza’s vehicle was located by Los Angeles police the next morning, east of Pasadena. Espinoza was taken into custody on an unrelated warrant and the juvenile witness was taken into custody as she was listed as missing.

While in custody at a children and family services facility, the juvenile witness gave a statement to a counselor, then to police. She identified Johnson and Humphrey as “Scooby” and “Poppa Cee,” respectively, both allegedly members of the Rolling 60’s Crip gang.

She told police Burnside and his brother, identified by police as Jo T. or “Loco,” were trying to recruit her and Espinoza as street prostitutes. During a conversation, one of the brothers showed them a large amount of money.

Hours before the murder, the group decided to rob one or both of the Burnside brothers, police said. During the fight, the witness said, Johnson beat Burnside with the hand holding a gun, then when he was on the ground, Johnson shot him multiple times.

Espinoza, the witness and the two men fled on Dean Martin Drive after the shooting, driving against traffic due to construction, the witness told police.

She said no money was recovered from the robbery. In custody in California, Espinoza told police that there was no plan to kill Burnside.

Espinoza, Johnson and Humphrey made an initial appearance in court last week and will face a preliminary hearing in Las Vegas on June 6. All three face the charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery and murder.

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