A man in Las Vegas shot and killed another man because he believed the victim was an “alien” who wanted to be his brother, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The incident occurred on November 9 at around 7 a.m. when multiple callers reported hearing gunshots, including one individual whose vehicle was shot at while he was sitting in it at the Las Vegas Academy of Arts.
One of the callers had previously reported a stolen gun on November 2, with Major Sanford, a 44-year-old resident of the area, named as the person of interest. Witnesses described a man with dreadlocks and face tattoos, aged between 30 and 40, holding a gun at the scene.
A witness stated that she heard several loud gunshots as she was walking towards the theatre building of the Las Vegas Academy of Arts. She saw a man firing indiscriminately at the theater building from the doorway of an apartment. Fearing for her safety, she got into a friend’s car and left the area. She later identified Sanford as the shooter.
Upon arriving at the scene, police discovered three bullet impacts on the east side of the theater building. They also observed Sanford leaving an apartment in the vicinity. He was apprehended by the officers, who noticed two broken windows at his apartment. A welfare check inside the apartment led to the discovery of the victim, Shannon Awa, lying on the bedroom floor. Awa had been shot in the back of the head and the back of his left shoulder. Medical personnel pronounced him dead at the scene.
During his arrest, Sanford confessed to the police that he had killed the victim because he believed Awa was an “alien” who wanted to be his brother. Sanford claimed that Awa had attempted to rob him of his marijuana and gun, leading him to shoot him twice. When questioned about a previous incident involving a stolen gun, Sanford requested legal representation.
Sanford is now facing multiple charges, including open murder with the use of a deadly weapon, discharging a gun into an occupied structure (four charges), possession of a gun by a prohibited person (two charges), carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, grand larceny of a firearm, and assault with a deadly weapon.
Court records show that Sanford has a history of arrests in Clark County dating back to 2003, including charges of theft, burglary, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a deadly weapon by an ex-felon. He has previously served time in the Nevada prison system.
Sanford is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center, with his next court appearance scheduled for January 11.