Published Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 | 1:51 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 | 3:29 p.m.
Map of South Point Hotel-Casino-Spa
9777 S. Las Vegas Boulevard , Las Vegas
An exchange student accused of fatally beating a man Monday evening inside an off-Strip casino told police he was afraid for his safety, according to a police report released this afternoon.
Matejs Balodis, 22, told Metro Police detectives he had just flown into Las Vegas from Texas when he met the alleged victim at McCarran International Airport during an extended layover. Balodis told police he quickly befriended Sherman Dale Lamb, who helped him get a room at the South Point after his flight to New York was cancelled.
Lamb, 55, “originally appeared nice,” but later “it became apparent Lamb wanted to get Balodis’ money and credit card (personal identification number),” the police report says.
Balodis told police he tried to get his information back from Lamb, but Lamb became upset. Balodis said he grew scared, and the men began to fight in their hotel room. He hit Lamb several times on the face and head before calling police and hotel security guards to report the incident about 6:20 p.m.
Lamb died about an hour later at a nearby hospital, and detectives arrested Balodis on one count of murder.
Balodis, whose registered address is in Latvia, said he was an exchange student from Denmark traveling back to Europe for the holidays after completing his studies in Texas. A Facebook profile matching the suspect’s identity indicates that he last lived in San Antonio, where he was training at the Pinnacle Martial Arts Academy.
Balodis, who is in custody in the Clark County Detention Center without bond, is due in court at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
Located South of the Strip, South Point is a hot spot frequented by locals. The hotel-casino is decorated in a Pacific Coast feel, with golds, reds and browns, mixing an island feel with the ambiance of Southern California.
Guests rooms feature 42-inch flat screen TVs, iPod docking stations and plush linens. Outside, the property features landscaped gardens, a hospitality to entertain poolside and a sand volleyball court.
When it comes to gaming, the South Point has more than 120,000 square feet of casino games, as well as a separate race books and sports books, a bingo and poker room. South Point also has some family friendly features, like a 64-lane bowling center, an arcade and a 16-screen movie theater.
Dining options range from an upscale meal at Michael's Gourmet to ice cream at Kate's Korner. The 24-hour Coronado Cafe is the perfect spot for a late-night craving, which include six midnight to 6 a.m. "graveyard" specials. Other restaurants include the Big Sur Oyster Bar, Don Vito's, Garden Buffet, Seattle's Best Coffee House and the Del Mar Deli.
One of South Points more unique features is the Equestrian Center and Arena, a first for Vegas. The Equestrian Center holds a variety of events, from college basketball to Championship Bull Riding.