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Suspects Arrested for Fatal Strip Stabbing | Crime

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Suspects Arrested for Fatal Strip Stabbing
Crime

LAS VEGAS - Larry Hicks never imagined he would lose his friend after a night out, but Randall Blackwell, a lyricist and rapper met his fate July 9.

"It could have been any one of us that night," Hicks said. "He was a foster child, so he grew up with us. He didn't know his biological mother or father."

Hicks, Blackwell and some other friends headed to a liquor store on Audrie Street and Flamingo Road. They parked and soon came face to face, police say, with 38-year-old Jerome Hopkins, 38-year-old Christopher McIntosh, and some women with them in a nearby parking lot.

"We're leaving our car. They're going to their car," Hicks said. "One of the dudes that I was with said something to one of the females - not anything confrontational or nothing like that - like, 'Hey, what's up?"

The situation between the two groups soon escalated.

"As soon as the disagreement started, they bring weapons into the equation," Hicks said. "(Blackwell) was stabbed twice in his heart."

Witnesses saw one of the suspects throw a knife on the roof of Battista's Hole in the Wall, an Italian restaurant next door. Investigators later recovered the weapon.

"When all of this was going on, there was a Metro officer at the light. If that cop hadn't been there that night, they would have gotten away. We would not have been able to do anything," Hicks said.

Metro police did not publicly announce Blackwell's fatal stabbing. Despite four murders on or near the Strip this summer, Metro stresses the tourist corridor is safe, and they are on patrol.

"I agree with the recent comment that it's an anomaly," Metro Police Officer Marcus Martin said. "You have to remember, 40 million people come to this town every single year, and the vast majority of them don't see fists thrown in anger or altercations or stabbings."

Hicks wishes this disagreement did not take such a tragic turn for Blackwell. "It didn't have to be like that," he said.

The trouble didn't stop with Blackwell's death. The mother of his little boy took her own life after Blackwell died in the hospital.

Blackwell's friends are trying to raise money for funeral expenses. A benefit fund has been set up.

Learn More About the Benefit Fund 

The two accused suspects are due in court Wednesday afternoon, and charges are expected to be upgraded from attempted murder to murder.

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