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Suspect in Vegas killing of rapper fights extradition from Calif

By Brandon Lowrey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man accused of fatally shooting an aspiring rapper as he drove along the Las Vegas Strip, touching off a fiery crash that killed two other people, challenged his extradition back to Nevada from California on Monday.

The man insisted through his defense lawyer that police or other authorities from Clark County, Nevada, be summoned to Los Angeles to identify him in court as the fugitive they seek in the February 21 shooting, 26-year-old Ammar Harris.

Harris is accused of opening fire from a black Range Rover on the Maserati luxury sports car being driven by Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., 27, in an intersection at the heart of the Vegas Strip, near several casino resort hotels.

Cherry, who performed under the name "Kenny Clutch," was fatally wounded, and his car veered out of control into a taxicab, which exploded in flames, killing cab driver Michael Bolden, 62, and his passenger Sandi Sutton-Wasmund, 48.

Authorities said they later tracked the suspected gunman to an apartment in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles, where he surrendered to police and FBI agents last Thursday after an exhaustive multi-state manhunt.

The suspect, dressed in blue jail fatigues and standing in a glass-enclosed booth, appeared on Monday in a Los Angeles courtroom for a brief proceeding in which a judge had been expected to order him sent back to Nevada.

Instead, an identification hearing was set for March 14, and the judge ordered him to remain held without bond until then.

The circumstances behind the high-profile shooting in the heart of the desert resort city remained unclear. Police have said the violence may have stemmed from a verbal altercation in the valet area of the Aria resort and Casino, a few blocks away on the Strip.

According to police, Harris has a long criminal history that includes arrests for robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping as well as pandering and soliciting prostitution. Police have said they believed he was involved in the sex trade.

Cherry's slaying 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, died six days later at a hospital. His murder remains unsolved.

(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay)

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