Washington State Casino Closes After Officer Kills Murder Suspect

Posted on: December 12, 2023, 06:12h. 

Last updated on: December 12, 2023, 11:28h.

Washington State’s Lucky Eagle Casino temporarily shuttered this week after a tribal police officer fatally wounded a murder suspect inside the gaming complex.

Washington State’s Lucky Eagle Casino
Washington State’s Lucky Eagle Casino, pictured above. A police officer shot and killed a suspect at the casino. (Image: TripAdvisor)

The unnamed Chehalis police officer shot Darren Evans, 33, of Yelm, Wash., Sunday night after approaching him in the Rochester, Wash. gaming property.

Lucky Eagle Casino was closed until further notice as of Monday while police investigated the incident, according to The Olympian, a regional news outlet.

Witness Account

One witness took a video of the casino shooting and provided some details.

He [Evans] was running toward my direction. I think he tried to get to the front door exit, and then all of a sudden, I see the officer shot him right in the middle of the floor,” Dee Thomas told Washington State radio station KOMO.

Police didn’t provide details on what led to the officer firing his gun at Evans. It’s unclear if Evans was armed or attempted to injure the officer before the officer discharged his firearm.

Police did reveal they were tipped off that Evans was in the casino on Sunday night. They had a warrant for his arrest in connection with a 2022 murder.

Officers attempted to give Evans first aid after the gunfire, but he died in the casino.

“You think you’re going to a public place that’s a safe place, that’s secure, and anything could happen,” Thomas said.  “So, it’s one of those things. I guess that’s the world that we live in right now.”

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the FBI, and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the shooting in the casino. Officers will likely review if the tribal officer involved in the shooting was justified in using deadly force.

Typically, among the times an officer can fire a weapon is if he/she or another person needs to be defended from deadly physical force.

The Lucky Eagle Casino is operated by the Chehalis Tribe. It’s about 25 miles southwest of Olympia.

Prior Murder

Evans was wanted in connection with a murder in nearby Pierce County.

A warrant was pending for his arrest, charging him with two counts of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm after he allegedly killed Dion Bartro, 52, of Puyallup, Wash.

Barto died from multiple gunshot wounds after an incident in Graham, Wash. on Sept. 25, 2022. Witnesses to that crime told police they saw a man shooting another man. The victim was later found deceased inside another person’s home.

Officers searched for the suspect in nearby woods, but could not locate him.

Previously, Evans was convicted on various charges including escape, burglary, bail jumping, ID theft, and assault, according to KOMO.