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Photo confusion in Strip shooting investigation could lead to lawsuit

Photo confusion in Strip shooting investigation could lead to lawsuit

CREATED Feb 28, 2013

 Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The Strip shooting case has been mired in controversy and questions. Who else was in the Range Rover and what did they know? 

One woman who was in the car at the time of the shooting was identified as a person of interest, but police may have circulated photos of the wrong girl.

If the claim is correct, Metro may have opened itself up to a lawsuit that could cost taxpayers a ton. But police say all they did was release photos they found in Ammar Harris' possession as part of the wide net they cast in this manhunt.

Metro Police say Ammar Harris may have collected photos of these women because they look alike.

During a press conference this week, Metro released photos of a woman identified as Tineesha Howard of Miami, a person of interest they were trying to track down for questioning in the Strip shooting case. 

But former reality show star Tasha Malek told a Miami reporter that police circulated photos of the wrong girl.

"We have to put out photos that are intended to drum up some talk so that we can determine who we are actually dealing with," said Metro Lt. Ray Steiber. "That person may not in fact actually be involved."

Police did track down and talk to Tineesha Howard. And though they confirm she was in the Range Rover during the Strip shooting, she is not in custody and not a suspect. 

Malek's attorney said the damage to his client's reputation is done.

"I understand they are trying to catch a murderer, but you can't run over somebody's life in the process and that's what they did," said Michael Grieco.

He said Metro also mistakenly identified Malek as a prostitute.

She's a Miami medical supply salesperson who once had a role on Oxygen Network's "Bad Girls Club." But she says she's not this bad.

"I don't know anything regarding this situation," Tasha Malek said. "But I am being cooperative. This is not me. That's all I can tell them. I had nothing to do with the situation." 

Malek's attorney calls Metro's actions reckless, saying it's a combination of bad luck, sloppy police work and a desire to put things out before they thought about it.

Metro denies any wrongdoing. They also emphasize that they did not get the photos from social media. 

Whether Malek sues the department remains to be scene.