BMW seen during parking garage killing led police to suspects

Investigators arrested two men in the slaying of a woman at a Fashion Show mall parking garage on New Year’s Eve after connecting one of them to the vehicle used in the crime, a silver BMW that police say was involved in a robbery the previous day at the Wynn resort.

Jesani Carter, 20, and Jordan Ruby, 18, have been charged with murder in the killing of Clarice Yamaguchi, 66, of Waipahu on the island of Oahu. Police said in a newly released arrest report for Carter and Ruby that Yamaguchi and her husband were in a parking garage at the Fashion Show, walking Friday at 1: 30 p.m. into the mall on the Strip, when Yamaguchi told her husband that “she forgot her mask.”

Her husband started to walk back to the couple’s rental vehicle to grab her mask when a silver vehicle approached Yamaguchi, police said. A gunman emerged from the car and attempted to steal the woman’s purse, prompting her to struggle with the man as Yamaguchi’s husband rushed to his wife’s aid and tried to tackle the assailant.

“As he struggled with the suspect he heard one gunshot,” police said.

Police said as the gunman tried to get back into the silver vehicle, the husband slammed the door of the car against the assailant repeatedly.

Yamaguchi later died at University Medical Center.

Witness describes robbers, vehicle

A witness saw the vehicle fleeing and observed the driver and a passenger. The witness described the driver as a slender Black male adult with shoulder-length dreadlocks and dark-colored clothing. The passenger had a mask over his face, but it appeared to the witness that the passenger was a Hispanic male.

Video surveillance also showed that the vehicle was a BMW 328i with a temporary tag and that the assailant who shot Yamaguchi was wearing a black sweater with large white lettering, police said.

Police said they ran the a check on the vehicle and realized it was involved in a Dec. 30 robbery at the Wynn resort on the Strip.

Police also learned the vehicle was referenced in a prior missing persons report filed with police on behalf of a “Jesani Carter.” Also, the vehicle was stopped by police some six weeks prior, and the driver at the time was identified as Carter, police said.

Nearly six hours after Yamaguchi’s slaying, Las Vegas police found the BMW parked at the Bally’s resort. Video surveillance from Bally’s helped police track the driver and the occupant as they walked from the vehicle into the resort. Carter and Ruby were arrested in the casino. Police then obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.

“Located in the trunk of the vehicle was a black backpack,” police said. “Inside the backpack, a black hoodie with large white lettering and a black ski mask (were) located, both of which were similar to the clothing the suspect was wearing at the time of the incident.”

Police said they found a Glock firearm under a rear seat and a cartridge casing under the driver’s seat.

“Numerous other identifying documents in the name of ‘Jesani Carter’ were located throughout the vehicle, including Carter’s California Identification Card,” police said.

Suspect picked from photo lineup

Police said the witness who saw the driver and passenger of the BMW at the Fashion Show parking garage picked Carter out of a photo lineup. The witness was “100 percent positive” Carter was the driver, police said.

Upon arrest, both Carter and Ruby requested lawyers. Ruby, police said, had marks on his body consistent with him having a car door slammed against him.

Carter gave a jailhouse interview to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday evening saying that police got it wrong and that he was not involved in the crime.

Police said in a news release Saturday evening that they believe the killing of Yamaguchi was part of a “crime spree” that is related to an attempted robbery and a fatal shooting Friday evening of a man in his 50s at the Palace Station parking garage. That shooting victim’s name had not been released by the Clark County coroner’s office as of Wednesday.

Homicide Lt. David Valenta told the Review-Journal in an email that before the man was shot at the Palace Station, a female employee of the Palace Station arriving to work “was first approached by an armed suspect from the silver BMW. She had no property taken.”

“The suspects then went one floor down in the parking garage,” Valenta said. “On this separate floor is where the deceased male with a gunshot wound was found. … That homicide victim is not an employee and just happened to be in the garage at that time.”

Police also said they are investigating whether Ruby and Carter were involved in another robbery at a parking garage in the 2500 block of Las Vegas Boulevard South at 5:13 p.m. In that crime police said an employee was robbed and shot at.

Las Vegas Justice Court records show Carter and Ruby are each charged with murder, attempted robbery and conspiracy.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at [email protected] Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.