LAS VEGAS (AP) — An overnight stabbing of two people during a cellphone theft from a Pokemon-Go player in Las Vegas marked the second case this week of violence involving players hunting for virtual creatures during overnight hours at closed public parks, police said Thursday.
The report that two people were injured late Wednesday in a city park by a player of the GPS “augmented reality” game came the same day that details emerged about a pre-dawn Monday shootout at a county park that left both a Pokemon-Go player and an 18-year-old accused of trying to rob him wounded.
It wasn’t clear in either case that the Pokemon-Go players were targeted for robberies because they were playing the virally popular game.
“These are crimes of opportunity,” Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer said of the latest example of unintended consequences of sending people to unfamiliar places in search of virtual prizes.
“We’ve got more people out and about, playing the game when people aren’t normally out and about,” she said, “and some people are preying on that opportunity.”
One person was taken to a hospital for treatment of a slash to his face after the 11:15 p.m. Wednesday attack at Desert Breeze park, and another was treated at the scene for a hand wound police said. The park is a Clark County facility about 5 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip. It closed at 11 p.m.
Meltzer said a male Pokemon-Go player reported that a man grabbed his cellphone and fled, and as he chased him he was attacked by two other males. The ages of the people involved weren’t immediately disclosed.
The phone thief escaped while the player scuffled with the others, Meltzer said.
Police were investigating whether the knife-wielding player was defending himself, Officer Michael Rodriguez said later. He wasn’t immediately charged with a crime.
In the Monday shooting, three people driving looking for someone to rob noticed five people in a parking lot of a downtown Las Vegas park about 4 a.m., according to court records made public Thursday.
The accused robber and gunman, Elvis Campos later told police he wanted money for his pregnant girlfriend, who was with him in the vehicle.
Campos is jailed on $95,000 bail pending an Aug. 11 preliminary hearing on felony charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, robbery, battery and assault with a deadly weapon. His defense attorney, Kambiz Shaygan, declined Thursday to comment.
The five people in the parking lot told police they had just arrived at the park to hunt for virtual Pokemon prize characters when they were confronted by a gunman who emerged from a black SUV wearing a mask and demanding they empty their pockets and hand over their wallets.
One of the game players handed over her cellphone before a male player drew a .45-caliber handgun from his clothing and shots were exchanged, according to a police report.
The report provides differing accounts of who fired first. But it suggested that at least 16 shots were fired.
Seven bullet casings from a .25-caliber weapon were found, and nine .45-caliber casings, according to the police report.
Some shots hit a vehicle in which one of the Pokemon-Go players had taken refuge, but he wasn’t wounded.
Campos, the wounded, climbed into the passenger side of the SUV, which collided with another vehicle as it backed out of the parking lot, police said. Campos was arrested after he was dropped off at University Medical Center with a wound to his lower back, police said.
The Pokemon Go player, identified as Darnel Ocampo, was hospitalized for treatment of an abdominal wound and was expected to recover.
Ocampo, 28, has a valid concealed weapon permit, Rodriguez said. A telephone number listed for him rang unanswered Thursday.
A male juvenile accused of driving the SUV containing Ocampo and his girlfriend was detained on juvenile charges including conspiracy and assault with a deadly weapon.