Shots Fired at Bingo Hall

Bingo Halls are usually crime free but players at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino had a big of excitement while playing early Father’s Day games. An angry man fired several shots inside the bingo hall and several players wrestled the gun away from the shooter. The suspect, a 27-year-old Wauwatosa man, fired a handgun and struck a 23 year old Milwaukee woman at around 1; 30AM. Several people told reporters from the Journal Sentinel that frightened players stampeded in two waves to the casino’s exits. The scene was chaotic as players dove under gaming tables to avoid being hit.

Ryan Amundson, a casino spokesman, said it was the first shooting in the casino. In 2011 there was an armed robbery and there was one incident where shots were fired outside the casino. Police said a fight took place before the shots were fired but did not elaborate. The shooter was arrested at the scene. Police would not comment about the eyewitness accounts of the struggle for the gun. Two players said they heard two to three shots and photos taken by one player showed several unspent cartridges on the floor of the casino.

After the incident the casino closed until 9AM Sunday. The victim, who was not hospitalized, suffered from a leg wound that was not life threatening. During interviews friends Antonio Felder and De Von Dent, said the credit for disarming the suspect belongs to friends Antonio Felder and De Von Dent who was the first to approach the shooter. Felder told reporters he saw Karr wrestling with two men and said “It looked like a bad game of Twister with a gun. Everybody had their hands on the gun. It could have gotten worse.” Felder, who was with a group of friends, said “I was worried about my guys. I didn’t want anything to happen to them.”

Felder said he joined in the fracas and put his foot on the gun. Casino officials referred questions to the police and praised the casino’s security team for their swift response. Witnesses said that the security response was light and ineffective. Chicago lawyer James Comerford was with a bachelor party group when the shots were fired. Comerford said he saw security guards underneath the gaming tables and heard casino management tell one dealer to guard his chips. Comerford said “We were appalled, they had no plan.” The Potawatomi casino released a statement which said in part “We are thankful no one was hurt more seriously and that the situation was contained quickly. Response by local law enforcement as well as our security team was outstanding. Potawatomi Bingo Casino will continue to cooperate and assist throughout investigation into this extremely isolated event.”

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