Michael C. Johnson, age 48, was the target of homicide after he argued with the wrong man outside of Stateside Lounge, on June 22nd. The saddest part? Johnson was protecting his daughter, who the man had allegedly been harassing at the lounge. Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers agree that this tragedy could have and should have been prevented.
What Are the Details of the Crime?
Security footage at the bar shows that Johnson left the lounge shortly before 3:50 a.m., unaware that an armed man, who police later identified as 43-year-old gang member Jerry Fitzgerald Jr., had followed him into the parking lot after being confronted by him in the bar.
Fitzgerald took cover behind two pillars, held a 9mm handgun in his right hand, opened fire on the unsuspecting Johnson, and murdered him. But not before Johnson took out his own handgun in self-defense and fired five rounds. Sadly, his attempt to save himself failed.
Twenty-three shell casings were eventually collected from the parking lot at Stateside Lounge, on the corner of Washington Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard – the site of three homicides in three months. The crime scene is riddled with bullet holes.
Security Footage and Witnesses Provide More Details
After the initial shootout involving Johnson and Fitzgerald, security footage captured Fitzgerald returning the scene with two other armed men before running away from the bar. While they were running away, Fitzgerald fired 13 more rounds at Johnson who was laying on the ground and bleeding out.
Fitzgerald was known as “Shady” by local gang members. Tipsters called Metro shortly after the incident to help them locate Shady, also providing a link to Shady’s Facebook profile. This link helped detectives connect Shady to the footage they’d viewed on the security cameras outside Stateside Lounge.
Shady was arrested three days after the shooting on one count of murder; he was denied bail.
Other Murders Highlight Dangers
The first of the other, unrelated, killings at Stateside happened on March 23rd when Howard Chris Drew, age 66, was found stabbed to death. The suspect, Reshard Vargas, age 39, was arrested and is being held without bail. About a week after that, Robert Lee Cook, age 56, was gunned down by a clerk who was later arrested on one count of murder. It is alleged that Cook left the store with three cases of unpaid-for beer.