Tragedy in Vegas: Hit-and-run of an ex-police chief, shocking video, a frenzy of online hate

A 64-year-old Las Vegas resident on a morning bike ride on Aug. 14 was struck by a stolen car and killed in what police say was a deliberate hit-and-run.

Now, two teenagers have been arrested and charged with murder, a graphic video of the incident police say was filmed by the teens has emerged, and a Las Vegas newspaper's coverage of the case has been the subject of a vicious online campaign spurred on by Elon Musk.

And the hit-and-run that killed Andreas Rene Probst, a retired Bell, California, police chief, may have culminated in a string of violence that day: The two teens also intentionally struck a 72-year-old bicyclist and another car, leaving two with non-life-threatening injuries, police say.

What happened when Andreas Rene Probst was struck?

One teen was arrested on Aug. 14 and another was arrested Tuesday by Las Vegas police in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of Probst.

A video shot from the passenger side of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra the teens were in captures the incident. Authorities said they obtained the video from a local school resource officer who contacted police after it was shown to them by a student.

In the video, both teens laugh as they speed down a multilane road. Seeing Probst riding his bike ahead, one teen tells the other to "hit" him before striking the bicyclist. The camera swivels around to show Probst lying on the side of the road as the car speeds away.

"On Aug. 29th, a school resource officer was approached by a student who provided him a video related to the incident which depicted, which we've all seen, a very appalling video which lacks morality," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said at a press briefing.

Authorities believe the hit-and-run that killed Probst was the third such incident on Aug. 14. Three out of the four stolen vehicles driven by the pair had been recovered, police say. During a search, officers also recovered clothing worn by the suspects during the incident.

USA TODAY has reached out to Las Vegas police and family members of the victims for comment.

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Who was arrested in the incident?

Jesus Ayala, 17, and Jzamir Keys, 16 have been booked into the Clark County Detention Center in connection with the hit-and-run, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Judges ruled on Wednesday that the two juveniles will be tried as adults.

Police arrested Ayala on the day of the hit-and-run on traffic charges. Keys, who was reportedly riding in the passenger seat when the two hit Probst, fled wearing a mask but was later identified and arrested on Tuesday. Police believe Keys was driving the car when it struck another bicyclist earlier in the day.

"In the criminal justice system, if you are a minor and you are eligible to be charged with a crime of murder, you are automatically sent to the adult system," Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.

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Online harassment targets journalist, newspaper staff

The incident sparked an online frenzy of harassment toward a local paper for its coverage of the story. A post to X of the Las Vegas Review-Journal's initial headline, which read "Retired police chief killed in bike crash remembered for laugh, love of coffee," suggested the paper had attempted to cover up the fact that the crash was a deliberate act.

The post skyrocketed to national attention when X owner Elon Musk shared it, adding, "An innocent man was murdered in cold blood while riding his bicycle. The killers joke about it on social media. Yet, where is the media outrage? Now you begin to understand the lie."

USA TODAY has reached out to the Las Vegas Review-Journal for comment.

Taylor Probst, the daughter of Andreas Probst, the ex-police chief who police say was killed by two teenagers in a hit-and-run, is imploring the public not to politicize her father's death.
Taylor Probst, the daughter of Andreas Probst, the ex-police chief who police say was killed by two teenagers in a hit-and-run, is imploring the public not to politicize her father's death.

Sabrina Schnur, the reporter who wrote the story, told the Poynter Journalism Review that the attacks leveled against her became increasingly personal and disturbing. Online harassers doxed her phone number, resurfaced posts she had made as a teenager and accused her of being anti-white.

"Over the past three days, Review-Journal employees’ social media and email accounts have been filled with accusations of every bias you can imagine, obscenities, racist tirades and wishes of personal suffering and death," Review-Journal Editor Glenn Cook wrote in an op-ed for the paper.

"We ask you to not politicize or use Andy's murder to fuel political agendas or to create cultural wars," Probst's daughter Taylor said at a press conference.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ex-police chief hit-and-run: 2 teens arrested in Los Vegas