By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) - Police identified a 22-year-old woman on Tuesday as a "person of interest" in the slaying of an aspiring rapper who was shot and killed while driving his Maserati on the Las Vegas strip and for the deaths of two more people in a fiery crash that ensued.
Las Vegas police said Tineesha Lashun Howard was riding in a black Range Rover with prime suspect Ammar Harris when he opened fire on the Maserati being driven by 27-year-old Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr. before dawn on Thursday.
Cherry, who performed under the name "Kenny Clutch," was mortally wounded and his silver sports car veered out of control, colliding with a taxicab in an intersection at the heart of the strip, near several casino resort hotels.
Harris, 26, has been the subject of a multistate manhunt since the incident, and police say he has a long criminal history that includes arrests for robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping and soliciting prostitution.
Police believe Harris is "involved in the sex trade," said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Officer Bill Cassell.
Harris is described as having several tattoos, including a large black-eyed owl on his neck and small heart on his upper right cheek.
Police officials described Howard as a "missing and possibly endangered individual" from the Miami area.
"She's listed as a missing person," Cassell said. "How she went missing is part of the Miami Police Department's investigation."
Several photos released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department showed Howard and Harris together in each others' arms. In one of them they are seen riding in a sport utility vehicle, possibly the Range Rover.
The Range Rover used in the shooting, which bore paper dealer plates, has been impounded by police, but officials have not said where they found the luxury sport utility vehicle. No weapons were recovered from inside.
Earlier on Tuesday, Las Vegas taxicab companies pledged $35,000 toward a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Harris.
Authorities say the dramatic shooting in a busy intersection of the desert resort city may have stemmed from a verbal altercation in the valet area of the Aria Resort and Casino a few blocks away on the Strip.
The incident took place less than a mile from where rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in September 1996 while riding in a BMW with Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight after the two men had attended a Mike Tyson boxing match.
Shakur, 25, was hit by gunfire from at least one assailant in a Cadillac while sitting in Knight's car at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane and died six days later at a hospital. His murder remains unsolved.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Bernard Orr and Lisa Shumaker)