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Deyan Dimitrov December 12, 2023 3 min read
Shooting Incident at Washington State’s Lucky Eagle Casino Raises Safety Concerns
A murder suspect was killed by an officer inside the venue, marking yet another new case of armed violence in US casinos
Lucky Eagle Casino found itself embroiled in a fatal shooting incident over the weekend, leading to the temporary closure of the establishment following a harrowing encounter between law enforcement and a murder suspect. This development perpetuates November’s unfortunate trend, as armed violence inside US casinos is becoming a regular occurrence.
Witness Testimony Revealed Additional Details
The victim, identified as 33-year-old Darren Evans of Yelm by Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock, was fatally shot by a Chehalis tribal police officer at Washington State’s Lucky Eagle Casino. Evans was the subject of a warrant for two counts of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in Pierce County. The charges stemmed from a September 2022 incident in Graham, where Evans was wanted for murder.
On Sunday, Chehalis Tribal police and Thurston County Sheriff’s Office personnel received information suggesting Evans was inside the Lucky Eagle Casino. Upon attempting to make contact with Evans, an officer fired shots, resulting in fatal injuries to Evans. Eyewitness Dee Thomas, speaking for KOMO, described Evans running towards the casino exit before the officer discharged his firearm.
I think he tried to get to the front door exit, and then all of a sudden, I see the officer shot him right in the middle of the floor. I didn’t see a direct threat from the man.
Authorities have not disclosed the specific circumstances that prompted the officer to fire, nor have they clarified whether Evans was armed or posed a threat to the officer before the shooting. Efforts to save Evans following the shooting were unsuccessful, according to reports from the sheriff’s office.
Casino Shootings Are Becoming Concerningly Common
Lucky Eagle Casino, operated by the Chehalis Tribe and located near Rochester, about 25 miles southwest of Olympia, announced its temporary closure in response to the tragic event. An establishment representative confirmed it would remain closed until further notice, expressing sorrow over the incident and the necessity of the closure during the ongoing investigation.
This newest shooting represents a concerning trend of armed violence at high-profile gambling venues. November saw a triple homicide near a casino in Robinsonville, MS, and similar reports of homicides related to the gambling industry have become increasingly frequent. While the courts often issue swift judgments regarding such cases, preventative measures remain lacking.
You think you’re going to a public place that’s a safe place, that’s secure, and anything could happen.Dee Thomas
The rising frequency of such incidents should prompt casino operators to invest more in security, safeguarding consumers and reducing the chances of similar tragedies. Lucky Eagle Casino demonstrates how an unfortunate incident can substantially impact a venue’s bottom line and damage its reputation, justifying some extra expenses.