Wife: Slain Calif. casino official planned to quit

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2009 1:12 PM

A casino gaming commissioner killed by a former employee was about to leave his job and move back to Arizona because he didn't like being ordered to fire people, his wife said.

Raymundo Casillas Jr., head of the Barona Gaming Commission in San Diego County, was killed Tuesday when Donnell Roberts went to his office and opened fire then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.

Julie Casillas told The San Diego Union-Tribune her husband was forced to fire Roberts even though he believed Roberts deserved better treatment.

"The poor gentleman who shot him didn't know that Ray didn't want to terminate him," she said. "It was a big mistake. If only the shooter would have known."

Casillas was not asked to terminate anyone without due process and never expressed any displeasure or any plans to leave, said Kathryn Clenney, a gaming commissioner and general counsel of the Barona Indian band.

Casillas was a member of Arizona's Pascua Yaqui Tribe, which operates two casinos, and had headed its regulatory agency for several years.

A year ago, he took the Barona job, leaving his wife and son at their apartment in Tucson.

"The light of his life was his son. He loved him dearly," said Alma Lopez, Casillas' sister-in-law.

Casino officials initially said Roberts was fired but on Wednesday said he resigned after 10 years with the casino and commission.

The commission met with Roberts to talk about allegations of misconduct and at first rejected his offer to resign, believing he was acting too hastily, Clenney said in an e-mail to the Union-Tribune.

After an investigation and another meeting, the commission accepted the resignation, she wrote.

Roberts had to leave because of relationships with at least two women who worked at the casino, including one woman who had two children by him, said Rodel Rodriguez, 34, who called Roberts his friend.

Rodriguez said he was fired from the commission the day before the shooting because he shared a staff memo with Roberts in which his departure was labeled a resignation.

Rodriguez said Roberts didn't drink, smoke or cuss and seldom got emotional. He was a father to seven children by six women.

Court records show Roberts owed four women thousands of dollars in child-support payments.


Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, http://www.signonsandiego.com