A woke Las Vegas bail fund backed by celebrities such as Richard Branson, John Legend, and Danny Glover has closed its doors amid a lawsuit filed after a career criminal was freed, only to shoot an Asian waiter 11 times, nearly killing him, just six days after being released.
The Bail Project announced earlier this month that it was disbanding its Sin City chapter after paying the $3,000 bail of Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, 23, in November 2021.
Gaston-Anderson was first arrested for pandering and carrying a concealed carry, the Daily Mail reports. He was released without bail with just a warning, but the following day, he was picked up again, this time for burglary and theft. Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Amy Chelini set a $3,000 bond, and The Bail Project — which claims on its website to be “a national nonprofit organization that pays bail for people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence” — rushed in to release him yet again.
Six days later, Gaston-Anderson entered the Shanghai Taste restaurant on Spring Mountain Road and opened fire, striking Wang seven times out of 11 shots fired.
Update – Suspect Photo
On December 22, 2021, Detectives were able to locate surveillance photos of the possible suspect in the Chinatown shooting. He appears to be homeless and is known to frequent tourist corridor areas.
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) December 23, 2021
In March, Wang told Las Vegas’ News 3 that one of his lungs and his stomach were punctured by the flying bullets.
Speaking through an interpreter, Wang recalled, “I can still vividly remember when the first police officer on the scene immediately helped me stop the bleeding on my neck and helped me put pressure on other ones.”
Wang is now suing The Bail Project, alleging that the organization used “no due diligence in determining whether Rashawn Gaston-Anderson would be a danger to the community and likely re-offend.”
“It’s an absolute tragedy and The Bail Project, myself speaking for The Bail Project found it absolutely shocking,” said Cameron Pipe, regional director of the West for The Bail Project, in January.
But he dismissed the notion that Gaston-Anderson’s criminal past was ignored in the decision to assist in his release.
“Every single decision that we make at The Bail Project goes through the exact same thorough review,” he told 8News in Las Vegas at the time.
“I don’t think they care and truly don’t care because some man nearly lost his life,” Lilia Ceballos, co-owner of Aztec Bail Bonds, told 8News.
“We pick and choose who we want to do business with,” said Lilia’s husband, Manny Ceballos. “We just don’t bail out habitual problem cases.”
Update—Rashawn Gaston-Anderson was taken into custody this afternoon thanks to a citizen tip.
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) December 28, 2021
Fifty-one people have been released onto the streets of Las Vegas by The Bail Project since February 2021, the Daily Mail reports. Of those, 91% have returned for their court date, according to a spokesperson from the organization.
Deputy General Counsel for The Bail Project, Katie Poor, doubled down on the group’s mission.
“We provide free bail assistance and what we call community release with support which includes rides to and from court, court notifications and we attempt to navigate services in the community based on our clients’ self-identified needs,” she said.
However, according to Gaston-Anderson, he is a diagnosed schizophrenic, and The Bail Project offered him nothing for his mental health issues.
On October 31, the shooter pled guilty on charges of attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and mayhem with the use of a deadly weapon. He will serve 18 years in prison.
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