LAS VEGAS -- A man killed in a shooting and fiery crash on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday morning was a rapper who previously lived in Oakland, a family member said.

Ken Cherry, 27, who rapped under the name Kenny Clutch, was shot by someone in a black Range Rover about 4:20 a.m. as he drove on Las Vegas Boulevard. After he was shot, Cherry rapidly accelerated his gray Maserati down Las Vegas Boulevard and through a red light before striking a cab at the intersection of Flamingo Road.

The cab burst into flames, and the cabdriver and a passenger were both killed. Six others were injured, police said.

The crumpled gray Maserati, which had no license plate, came to rest several feet away from the incinerated taxi. Cherry was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Screen shot from Kenny Clutch’s Facebook page.
Screen shot from Kenny Clutch's Facebook page.

Police did not release the names of those who died or were injured, citing the ongoing investigation.

Police said bullets came from the black Range Rover as it raced with the Maserati toward a red light on the Vegas Strip.

Three more cars and a utility truck collided at the crossroads, which is home to Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Bally's, leaving people injured as the Range Rover sped off, police said.

"We have numerous witnesses," Las Vegas police Sgt. John Sheahan said. "But what is the genesis of this? We don't know yet."

Cherry's 75-year-old aunt, Pat Sims of Oakland, said she didn't know anything about the incident, but she said her nephew was a kind soul.

"I can tell you this ... the world has lost a good man," Sims said. "I'm not saying he didn't have his faults, but he was very kind, especially to older people. Whatever happened in Vegas, I don't know about, but he was a very kind soul."

Law enforcement sources said Cherry had prior arrests in Oakland and Berkeley. He was convicted on a gun charge in 2007 stemming from an arrest in Berkeley, sources said, although details on that conviction weren't immediately available.

Several members of the Oakland rapping community have traveled to Las Vegas recently, sources said, for the filming of a rap video by another local rapper.

The dramatic predawn scene in Vegas that more than one tourist compared to something out of a violent action movie set off a frantic search for the occupants of the Range Rover. Sheahan said the Range Rover was last seen near the Venetian resort as it headed north from the shooting scene on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Sheahan said police have video from traffic cameras at the intersection and were checking hotel surveillance systems. The video will not be made public, he said.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Thursday's attack was sparked by an argument in the valet area of the nearby Aria hotel-casino and that the violence at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road did not reflect the values of Las Vegas residents or visitors.

"What happened will not be tolerated," Gillespie said.

Witnesses also told police the SUV and Maserati had come from the nearby CityCenter area, the home of Aria, just south of the site of the attack.

On the Strip, the fiery rampage shocked tourists.

"This doesn't happen where we come from, not on this scale," said Mark Thompson, who was visiting from Manchester, England, with his wife. "We get stabbings, and gang violence, but this is like something out of a movie. Like 'Die Hard' or something."

Authorities in three neighboring states are on the lookout for the Range Rover Sport with dark tinted windows, black custom rims and paper car dealer ads in place of license plates.

In Southern California, the California Highway Patrol alerted officers in at least three counties to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Vegas jogger Eric Lackey was on his way back to his hotel when he snapped a cellphone photo of the blazing scene moments after the crash. Black smoke billowed from the flaming taxi amid popping sounds from the fire.

The area near the scene has been the site of high-profile violence in the past.

Rapper Tupac Shakur was killed in a drive-by in 1996 about a block away under similar circumstances, as assailants opened fire on his luxury sedan from a vehicle on Flamingo Road. The killing has never been solved.

Staff writer Katie Nelson and Associated Press writers Ken Ritter, Michelle Rindels and Hannah Dreier contributed to this report.