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Las Vegas officials rethinking bus security, ads after shooting
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas public transportation system is investigating how it uses surveillance video and vehicle advertisements, a week after a fatal shooting and barricade situation on a public bus shut down the Strip hotel-casino district for hours.

Angela Castro, spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, said in a statement Saturday that the agency is working with Las Vegas police to examine those issues from the March 25 incident.

Police said Rolando Cardenas, 55, fatally shot one man and wounded another on the double-decker bus in front of the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino before barricading himself inside for more than four hours. Cardenas now faces murder, attempted murder, battery and firearm charges. His lawyer has already raised mental competency as a possible defense in the case.

Gary Breitling, 57, of Sidney, Montana, was shot in the chest and soon died at a nearby hospital. The other man hurt was treated and released.

Police said Cardenas was sitting in the back on the second level of the bus traveling on Las Vegas Boulevard when he opened fire. All those aboard were able to flee. But during the barricade, authorities were uncertain if there were any victims held hostage and struggled to get a good view of the suspect inside.

“Based on the shooting on (the) Las Vegas Strip, we are currently working with law enforcement and our transit contractors to hopefully resolve the issues that reduced law enforcement’s ability to see inside the bus,” Castro said.

The bus on one side, including the windows, was covered in a white vinyl film that advertised for the local outlet shopping mall. The transit agency is searching for an alternative material to improve visibility from the outside, Castro said.

Officials are also looking into adding live access to its video monitors. The public buses have multiple surveillance cameras. But they now only tape from inside the bus for later review, without the capability to offer real-time views.

Vegas police officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Saturday. Officer Larry Hadfield, a spokesman for the department, declined to discuss the specific issues with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which first reported the transit agency’s plans.

He told the paper: “There were issues, but our officers deal with issues they run into, whether it’s a brick wall or a glass window.”

On the day of the shooting, there were eight transit security officers on duty along the tourism corridor. The transit agency budgets $8 million annually for security, Castro said.

“The safety and security of our transit riders, contractors and staff is our utmost priority. We remain committed to providing a safe and reliable transit experience,” she said.


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