Crime

Mississippi’s Treasure Bay Casino Turns Chaotic After Gunshot Rings Out on Gaming Floor

Players at Mississippi’s Treasure Bay Casino ran for cover Friday night after a single shot was fired from a gun. Several eyewitnesses hid under tables. Many were described as scared or bewildered.

An unnamed man crouches for safety at Mississippi’s Treasure Bay Casino. People in the casino ran for cover after a shot rang out Friday. (Image: WLOX)

Following the discharge, casino employees and players ran in different directions, according to witnesses speaking to local media.

The person with the gun suffered “a very superficial leg wound,” WLOX, a local Mississippi TV station, initially reported. There were no other injuries.

The gunshot turned out to be from an accidental discharge of a firearm. The gun was in the person’s pocket when it discharged. Following the incident, one eyewitness, Jeremy Pellegrin, told WLOX he had just won at roulette. Then, he heard a sound. “I just hear a loud pop,” Pellegrin said.

At first, he hid under a table with the dealers. It was scary, he recalled. Then, Pellegrin took out a cell phone and started to record the pandemonium.

Nobody knew what to do, which way to run, where to go,” Pellegrin told the TV station. “Everybody pointing in different directions. It was a chaotic scene.”

He heard the sound of flip-flops and shoes hitting the floor. Some shoes reportedly fell off as the people ran.

During his video, soon after the shot, one could hear a woman yell out, “Did anybody see anything?” A man later shouted, “Everybody stand down!”

Man With Firearm Was Charged

It is illegal to have a weapon in the casino. So, the person with the gun in his pocket was charged with discharging a firearm in city limits, the report said. He was not identified in a local news report.

Following the incident, Treasure Bay CEO Susan Varnes explained in a statement that “No other guests or crew were involved or injured, and the Biloxi Police Department responded quickly.”

The Mississippi Gulf Coast casino has been open round the clock in recent months, with health safeguards in place. Last March, it was shuttered for two months by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Camera Turned on Quickly

Over the weekend, Pellegrin multiple times watched the video he took of the confused and tense situation, WLOX reported.

Why did he take out his cell phone to begin recording a video? He just had an instinctive reaction.

“In these situations, I turn my camera on quick, because you never know what could happen,” Pellegrin told WLOX. “I definitely wanted to make sure that if anything crazy did happen, that people got to see what was really going on inside.”

Ed Silverstein

Gaming Law, Tribal Gaming, Crime, Gaming Research----An award-winning journalist with credits ranging from the Associated Press to American Lawyer Media, Ed joined the Casino.org news team in 2019 with decades of legal reporting expertise under his belt. His past reporting and editing assignments include Cowles Business Media, Columbia University Press, the Connecticut Post, and Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc. Besides the law and its application to the gaming industry, Ed’s areas of expertise span business, courts, crime, politics, education, and state and local government. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut (where he now lives), and master’s degrees from Harvard and Yale, Ed’s professional awards include recognition from the New England Press Association and New England AP News Executives. Email: ed.silverstein@casino.org

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  • I was there Friday night and it was an injury people was running and screaming I seen a guy people had done pushed and stepped on him near a wall on the ground

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Ed Silverstein