Vegas News

Man indicted in alleged crime spree that included firing gun at police

A Las Vegas man who exchanged gunfire with police and crashed a car into a police vehicle after a more than 40-mile chase was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas.

Justin Venegas, 40, made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Cam Ferenbach.

According to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office, Venegas has been charged with two counts of carjacking, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and felon in possession of a firearm.

The indictment alleges Venegas carjacked a person in a Chevrolet Avalanche on Aug. 11. Later, according to the news release, Venegas tried to carjack a second victim who was in a Toyota Highlander. He’s also alleged to have shot at and struck the second victim using a handgun with an obliterated serial number.

During the crime spree, police allege Venegas fired at officers chasing him before slamming the vehicle he’d carjacked into a police vehicle at 67 miles per hour.

Venegas was originally charged in state District Court where he made strange statements during a court appearance. He lashed out at his public defender during an Aug. 24 video hearing.

“You don’t speak for me,” Venegas told attorney Connor Saphire. “I speak for myself.”

Amy Chelini, the judge in the state case, said a competency exam would be needed before the case could proceed.

The federal trial has been scheduled for Nov. 14, before U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro.

Contact Glen A. Meek at [email protected] or 602-380-8951. Follow @GlenMeekLV on Twitter.

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