Las Vegas police said a man accused of entering Boulevard Mall last week with a fake gun and mask had recently been denied a job at the mall and threatened a shooting.
Emile Daren Hopson, 25, was arrested Thursday night after multiple witness statements from the mall and a nearby neighborhood led to his apartment where he was arrested without incident, according to police.
According to a police report, multiple people contacted authorities on May 17 around 7 p.m. saying a man with a green hoodie, mask and rifle walked from the Wells Fargo at Maryland Parkway and Sierra Vista Drive to the front doors of the Boulevard Mall, across the street.
Inside the mall, people reported shots fired and said the suspect was pointing a gun at patrons and employees. Police initiated a MACTAC response: multi-assault counter terrorism actions capability, and several officers were dispatched to the scene.
Two store employees told police they recognized a man matching Hopson’s description from his gait. An employee of Sheikh shoe store said Hopson was turned down a job in recent weeks and threatened “to shoot the shoe store up.”
The manager of the store said Hopson came in the store nearly every day. He said Hopson was accused of recently stealing from a store in the mall, which police later verified with two documents.
No shots were fired and police later determined the rifle to be fake, according to Las Vegas Metro police.
A witness who ran out of the mall showed detectives surveillance stills on her phone showing the suspect holding a rifle inside the mall. Multiple callers reported the suspect pointing the gun at citizens.
Another witness, an unidentified man, approached detectives and said he knew who the suspect was. The man had a video of an interaction with the suspect, the report said, that appeared to be from hours earlier. The man in the video was described as 5’10", afro-style hair, sideburns and a beard, wearing a green University of Michigan sweatshirt.
Detectives walked to nearby apartments where witnesses identified a man with a similar description and told police where he lived. The man was found shortly after and was taken into custody without incident.
Police said Hopson identified himself then feigned a seizure before making “completely unprompted excited utterances” to the detectives. He told police a man with a rifle in a mask tried to rob him. Other witnesses told police Hopson was the man wearing the same outfit that the suspected gunman was wearing.
“At this time, based on the information I have already obtained, there is probable cause to believe Hopson committed an act of terrorism. This is due to the current climate in this country regarding active shooting incidents,” an arresting detective wrote in the police report.
“Las Vegas alone is still in the shadow of the mass shooting on October 1, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Based on these facts, a reasonable and prudent person would, and several people did, believe a person wearing militant gear, a mask, carrying a rifle into a heavy populated, public place (such as the Boulevard Mall) and pointing said rifle at several people was doing to in order to commit a mass shooting.”
The report cited the NRS 202.445.1 “act of terrorism” definition, of which Hopson was charged with.
Hopson was due in court June 4.
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