Police Arrest One Man in Arkansas Casino Shooting

Posted on: March 16, 2021, 03:39h. 

Last updated on: March 16, 2021, 04:00h.

One man has been arrested and another is expected to surrender after a gun battle last week that wounded an Arkansas casino guard.

Brandon Burnett
A suspect identified as Brandon Burnett is seen in this police photograph that aired on an Arkansas television station. He is accused of shooting at a casino guard in Pine Bluff. (Image: KATV-TV)

Brandon Burnett, 27, turned himself in to Pine Bluff police on Monday, according to KLRT-TV. A second suspect, Tirek Langel, is expected to surrender on Wednesday, authorities said. His attorney contacted police with this information. 

Both men face charges of first-degree battery and discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

Police questioned three other men in the shooting at Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff. The three were released after witness statements and other evidence indicated they did not fire any weapons, authorities said.  

The incident began March 11 at about 11:15 pm when security escorted several patrons out of the casino and into the parking lot. The patrons had caused a disturbance inside the casino, police said.

Outside, two patrons became engaged in a gun battle with security. One security officer was shot in the stomach. He was hospitalized with a slight wound and released, according to a published account.

During the shootout, the exterior of the casino and two cars on the parking lot were hit by gunfire.

The suspects got into a car and left the area. 

Arkansas Home to Three Casinos

Saracen is one of three full casinos operating in Arkansas. The other two are Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn in Hot Springs. A fourth casino has been licensed in Russellville, but is tied-up in a legal dispute.

In 2018, Arkansans voted to approve four licensed casinos in the state. A dog track at Southland and horse track at Oaklawn already were in operation. The 2018 vote allowed these two sites to offer casino-style gaming and sports betting.

Saracen held a grand opening for its full hotel-casino last fall. It had been operating out of an annex while the resort was under construction. The annex is a former truck stop.

Pine Bluff, where Saracen is located, is about 45 minutes south of Little Rock, the capital city.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) directed the casinos to close last March at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. He allowed them to begin operating again May 18 with capacity restrictions and health measures in place.

Las Vegas Guard Slain

The incident in Pine Bluff is one of two in the country last week in which a casino security officer was shot.

At Wynn Las Vegas, Yoseph Almonte, a 31-year-old security officer and Marine Corps veteran, was shot and killed in an employee parking garage on March 9. 

The gunman, Reggie Tagget, 42, also was an employee at the resort on the Las Vegas Strip, police said. Before the shooting occurred, Tagget had not been at work for two days. He triggered an alert by using his employee badge to enter the garage.

When Almonte went to check on him, Tagget shot the security officer multiple times in the torso. Tagget then got out of the car and ran. Almonte shot him once in the back. Tagget then shot and killed himself, police said.