Brawl turns to shooting at Nevada casino, one dead

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 24, 2011 3:23 PM
Brawl turns to shooting at Nevada casino, one dead

By Stephen Ward

SPARKS, Nev (Reuters) - A shooting that erupted during a brawl near a bar at a high-rise Nevada casino overnight killed one person and wounded two others, police said on Saturday.

Police said the brawl occurred shortly before midnight on Friday near the Polynesian-themed Trader Dick's bar and restaurant, which is open to the casino floor at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel and casino in Sparks, Nevada, near the northern city of Reno.

"The Sparks Police Department was notified of a fight involving a large group who were armed with firearms inside John Ascuaga's Nugget near the Trader Dick's Bar," a police statement said.

"As units were responding to the fight, the information received indicated that shots had been fired," it said, adding that one person died and two others were being treated for gunshot wounds.

Local media said the fight stemmed from tensions between two motorcycle clubs in town for a fall rally, and said the hotel was briefly evacuated after the shooting. Hotel officials declined to comment.

On Saturday, the restaurant and part of the casino floor were roped off as police inspected the area and workers in yellow gloves scrubbed the floor. Nearby, gamblers including motorcycle enthusiasts played slot machines and mingled.

One biker staying in the hotel to attend the Street Vibrations motorcycle event said tensions had been mounting between biking rivals for several days.

"It was bound to happen," biker Don Gilbert told Reuters. "It's ridiculous ... All the regular bikers shake their heads. It's nonsense."

The shooting appeared to cap a spate of fatal incidents this month in normally quiet northern Nevada, where a gunman with a history of mental illness opened fire at a pancake house in Carson City, the state capital, on September 6.

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Three National Guard soldiers and a civilian were killed in that attack and seven others were wounded before the gunman killed himself.

Then last week, a World War Two-era fighter plane crashed into box seats near the grandstands at an air race in Reno, killing 11 people in the worst accident in the history of the annual event.

(Additional reporting and writing by Cynthia Johnston in Las Vegas; Editing by Peter Bohan)