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Man arrested with ‘mace or sledgehammer-type instrument’ after 3 people are found dead inside his apartment

Spencer McDonald appears in a mugshot

Spencer McDonald appears in a mugshot from June 2023. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

A Las Vegas man has been arrested after three people were found dead inside of his apartment this week. The man himself was found with a large “mace or sledgehammer-type instrument,” police claim.

Spencer McDonald, 30, currently stands accused of three counts of open murder, and one count of attempted murder, according to Clark County Jail records reviewed by Law&Crime.

According to local and national reporting, the defendant appears to have long suffered from various forms of mental illness.

Late Tuesday morning, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to reports of “a man armed with a weapon who was attacking people” at the apartment complex located on West Flamingo Road, police said in a press release.

At least one report noted that a person had been stabbed, according to local NBC affiliate KSNV. Law enforcement met with the stabbing victim, a maintenance worker, with non-life-threatening injuries, in the apartment complex’s leasing office. Then, McDonald reportedly ran through the office and toward the street where he was arrested.

“Through the course of the investigation, officers learned McDonald lived in the complex with two other people,” the LVMPD said in their press release. “Officers conducted a welfare check in McDonald’s apartment and located three unresponsive adults. Medical personnel pronounced all three victims deceased.”

Homicide detectives quickly followed up and alleged the defendant had killed all three people found dead inside his apartment.

Details about the deceased victims are scarce.

In comments to KSNV, LVMPD Lt. Jason Johansson said one of the people killed is believed to be a maintenance worker – and that two workers had arrived to perform a welfare check on the day in question; only one worker escaped the violence.

Another victim is believed to be a man in his 40s. The third victim is believed to be a woman in her 80s. Johansson added that the man and the woman are believed to be related. The date the two people were killed is currently not public information.

The LVMPD said identifications of the victims, including the manner and cause of death, will be released by the Clark County Coroner’s Office. Law&Crime reached out to the coroner’s office and the LVMPD for additional information and comment on this story but no responses were immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.

McDonald was arraigned on Wednesday, according to the TV station. The defendant reportedly stood silent throughout the courtroom proceedings and was ordered to remain detained in the Clark County Detention Center pending a future bail hearing.

An anonymous neighbor took note of McDonald’s general demeanor before this week’s crime in comments to local Fox affiliate KVVU.

“I just happened to see him in the neighborhood when I first moved here,” the man told the TV station. “He just seemed a little disturbed. Probably medicated. But there was something odd about him. I don’t know where he lived. He was just walking around the neighborhood at all times of the night, not really bothering anybody.”

According to local CBS affiliate KLAS and The Washington Post, the neighbor’s understanding of the defendant may not be far off.

The local TV station cites a 2013 report by the D.C.-based paper about a family with a son named Spencer who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The KLAS report says: “Photos from that article match the face of McDonald’s court appearance Wednesday morning, along with his corresponding age.”

The mentally ill person described in the original article, at one point, “swallowed three bottles of Benadryl in a suicide attempt“ and regularly “takes medication to keep his illness in check.” Additionally, the report says, he underwent “electroconvulsive therapy” and lived with his 70-year-old grandmother at the time.

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