Arkansas Casino Adding Metal Detectors After Shootout

Posted on: March 27, 2021, 01:44h. 

Last updated on: March 27, 2021, 10:59h.

In the aftermath of a gun battle that wounded a security officer, an Arkansas casino is adding metal detectors to screen patrons entering the resort.

Saracen Casino Resort
A gaming table bears the name of Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Ark. The resort is adding a touchless security system at each entrance. (Image: The Daily Record)

Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Ark. is making a six-figure investment to install Evolv Technology detectors, according to KTHV-TV. The devices are expected to be installed in about two weeks.

Carlton Saffa, the resort’s chief market officer, said the detectors “are not big arches, like at an airport.”

“They really look like the anti-shoplifting devices you see at the back of the retail store,” he said.

Saffa said Evolv detectors are used at Walt Disney World in Florida, Wynn Las Vegas, and Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.

He said the touchless security system includes two pylons spaced about six or eight feet apart. People walk between the pylons without taking their keys or cellphone out of their pockets or removing their shoes, Saffa said.

“You walk through at a normal pace,” he said in a recorded interview on the Deltaplex News website. “Our team is able to see in real time on an iPad any threats.” 

He said the resort already has more than 100 security officers and is equipped with thousands of cameras.

From the moment you pull onto our property until the moment you leave, and every function and every facet in this business, except in the restrooms, you’re on camera,” Saffa said.

Pine Bluff is about 45 minutes south of Little Rock, the capital city. Little Rock is in the center of the state.

Gunfire Outside Casino

The incident at Saracen began March 11 about 11:15 pm, when security escorted five patrons out of the resort. The patrons had created a disturbance on the gaming floor, police said.

Authorities said one of the men, Tirek Langel, 22, was heard saying he was going to get a gun to “shoot the place up,” according to Metroplex News.

Security video shows Langel getting into a car that began to leave. However, Langel got out and began shooting at security officers, the news website reported. The driver, Brandon Burnett, 27, also is accused of firing at security.

Langel and Burnett have been arrested and charged with first-degree battery and other crimes in the incident.

A security officer was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He has been released from the hospital.

The three men with Langel and Burnett are not expected to face criminal charges, authorities said.

Casino Wins Decline

Saracen and the other two Arkansas casinos were in the news this week after gaming revenue totals showed all three made less money in February than the previous month.

The other two are Oaklawn, a casino and horse track in Hot Springs, and Southland, a casino and dog track in West Memphis. 

Arkansas was hit with frigid winter weather in February. The cold temperatures and icy roads paralyzed much of the region, including Texas and Oklahoma, with hazardous driving conditions and utility outages. 

During February, Saracen was closed temporarily because of water pressure issues in the city.