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Police say NYE Las Vegas shooting suspect fired 71 times near Strip

Forty-five-year-old Jon Letzkus is accused of causing over $100,000 in damage after firing off shots from a hotel balcony.
Police say NYE Las Vegas shooting suspect fired 71 times near Strip
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-03 17:43:04-05

An arrest report is shining new light on the suspect who fired more than 70 shots from a hotel balcony near the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve. 

Jon Letzkus, 45, made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, where a Clark County judge set bail at $500,000. 

According to an arrest report, Las Vegas officers responded to a call regarding an explosion near the MGM Signature Tower at around 5:55 a.m. on New Year's Eve. 

Details came from multiple witnesses who described what they believed were "explosions" coming from the area. Arriving officers determined the noises were coming from the higher floors of the MGM Signature Hotel, and police immediately began searching the hotel for the suspect. 

A witness said they observed the suspect "firing indiscriminately" from his balcony in the third tower on the 31st floor. The witness said the suspect reentered his room and watched as the windows of the room "shattered" as the suspect continued to fire his weapon. 

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SWAT teams arrived at the scene and later located the room where the suspect was believed to be firing. After obtaining a search warrant, officers were able to evacuate surrounding rooms and enter the suspect's room. The suspect wasn't immediately located in the room, but a dog was found in a locked bathroom along with multiple indications of gunshot damage and shell castings. 

Detectives were able to identify the suspect as Jon Letzkus after finding a pill bottle with his name on it in the hotel room. Police also interviewed a hotel staff member who confirmed she checked him into the room. 

Police said the staff member reported that she "had two encounters with him because he returned to her to get another room key. She stated that Letzkus' hands were shaking when he handed items to her," the report noted. "He also inquired about their policy of asking to see identification when obtaining a room key." 

Letzkus was apprehended by police after surveillance footage showed a subject matching his description at the Pizzeria at MGM. He was taken into custody by police. 

During an interview with Letzkus, police said he began talking about his estranged wife of 13 years. The report said, "Jon explained that she filed for divorce approximately two months ago and ever since has been trying to 'ruin' him."

Police say Letzkus went into "great detail" about his and his wife's marital issues and noted that he was "extremely upset" while speaking about it. "He was screaming, crying, face turning red, neck veins protruding, and his fists clenched." 

He also told police that his wife, who he claims "reported a false domestic violence situation that resulted in a restraining order," had been sending someone to "case" his house after he refused to be served by the local sheriff's office. He claims he bought a firearm — identified as a Glock 17 with a 10-round magazine — for protection at that time. 

"Jon later stated that he was expertly trained with guns and loved them, but he would never hurt anyone with them. He stated he was more of a danger to himself than anyone else," the report read. 

Letzkus said he had initially driven out to Las Vegas to avoid being served. After hearing someone knock on his door, the suspect said he believed there were "two individuals hiding out of sight" behind the door, who would try to "throw him off the balcony to kill him" if he opened the door. 

He responded by placing heavy furniture from the room in front of the door and "began building legos" to calm himself down. 

Letzkus continued making questionable claims to police, claiming that water began pouring from the ceiling, which he believed was security's attempt to "flood his room to drown him." He also claimed that he believed security was rappelling from the floor above to gain entry into his room. He also told police that he believed his room was bugged. 

Letzkus then claimed he attempted to get the attention of nearby police officers by taking out his firearm and began shooting out of his room. The report said, "Jon explained that he shot at an 8-degree angle into the air. He would slightly step out onto the balcony and shoot. Jon was very specific about how he shot the rounds. He did not want them to be confused with fireworks." 

Letzkus only stopped shooting after his gun jammed. 

Police also said that during the interview Letzkus would go off on tangents about things he believed he saw or heard and told police that he witnessed "cats in suits with machine guns walking in the hallways." He also asserted feeling "under physical threat and referenced PTSD and having night terrors."

Surveillance video showed Letzkus running through the hallway of various floors in the hotel, placing ammunition in piles on the floor, discarding luggage in the stairwell, and changing clothes.

According to MGM Resorts, the damage caused by Letzkus is estimated to be at over $100,000, but the total is expected to rise as more damage is discovered. He is estimated to have fired 71 shots in total. 

Prosecutors asked the judge for a risk assessment and a $1,275,000 bail. 

Defense attorneys argued the bail was "far outside his reach" and, in turn, asked for monitoring and a $5,000 bail. 

His bail sat at $500,000 by late Wednesday. Letzkus is due back in court on Jan. 17, 2024, at 10 a.m. local time. 

This story was originally published by Rachel Zalucki at Scripps News Las Vegas


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