Casino del Sol Tucson Patron Arrested for Mass Shooting Threat

Posted on: December 4, 2023, 02:21h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2023, 01:55h.

A disgruntled casino-goer was in custody Friday after allegedly threatening a mass shooting at the Casino del Sol in Tucson, Ariz.

Michael McClernon, Casino del Sol, Tucson, Arizona
The Casino del Sol in Tucson, Ariz. (above) was the target of a mass shooting threat in September. The alleged perpetrator claims he forgot about the threat and went to stay in the casino’s RV park. (Image:

Michael McClernon told tribal police he had no recollection of threatening to drive his truck into the front of the casino and start shooting. But he did admit that it was possible because he had been upset about his treatment at the casino during a prior arrest. The nature of this arrest is unspecified in court documents.

McClernon was charged with knowingly and willfully communicating a threat to injure another using a telephone, according to federal court documents filed Friday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors claim that on September 27, McClernon made a telephone call to the Casino del Sol, which is owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui tribe. While delivering the threat, he revealed his identity to a Pascua Yaqui police sergeant, according to the filing.

Hiding in Plain Sight

McClernon wasn’t immediately arrested, as his whereabouts were unknown. He was banned from the casino, and staff posted his picture on the premises. But it appears that from around November 16, he was staying at the casino’s RV park.

On November 30, he approached a staff member to inquire about extending his stay. The employee recognized him and contacted Pascua Yaqui police.

McClernon is facing federal charges because the FBI has special jurisdiction to investigate serious crimes committed on most tribal reservations. His alleged actions violated the U.S. Code Title 18, Section 875 (c), which states:

“Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

Casino Threats

Threats to attack casinos are taken extremely seriously by prosecutors, even when they turn out to be hoaxes or when the threat has been made in jest.

In February 2022, a man was arrested outside STRAT Las Vegas after he claimed he was “going to blow the building up” because he had a “grenade in his ass and wanted to fart.” He was booked on charges related to making terrorist threats. No such incendiary device was uncovered during a subsequent cavity search.

In April 2021, two bomb threats dialed into the Horseshoe Bossier City, La., turned out to have come from one of the casino’s security guards. He was charged with two counts of communicating false information of a planned arson.

In May of that year, a woman was slapped with felony charges after she called in a bomb threat to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa because she was annoyed about losing $380 on slots.