Casino Crime: Man Critical in Sahara Las Vegas Shooting, Bomb Threat at Pennsylvania Property

  • LVMPD said a shooting took place at the Sahara Las Vegas on Sunday morning
  • Presque Isle Downs & Casino had to be evacuated after receiving a bomb threat
  • The Pennsylvania facility reopened after police pronounced the bomb threat unfounded
  • June casino crime includes the suspect in a triple Oregon murder turning himself in
June’s latest casino-related crime headliners include a man critically shot at Sahara Las Vegas and a bomb threat at a Churchill Downs-owned Pennsylvania facility. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update June 29, 2021: Pennsylvania State Police arrested and charged two people allegedly involved in the Presque Isle Downs & Casino bomb threat hoax. Suspect Norman Antuzzi, 48, is an ex-worker of the casino where Parlee Jo Ferko, 38, currently works as a bartender.

Court documents allege that Ferko had been complaining to Antuzzi about work just before the time of the bomb threat. The latter reportedly asked Ferko if she wanted him to call in a threat.

Violent incidents this past weekend

A shooting at a Las Vegas hotel-casino and a bomb threat at a Pennsylvania casino took center stage over the weekend as the US trend of casino-related crime continues.

Local news station Fox 5 Las Vegas took to Twitter on June 27 to report the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) as saying a man shot in a hotel room of the Sahara Las Vegas on Sunday is in critical condition:

Over in Pennsylvania, Presque Isle Downs & Casino had to be evacuated on Saturday after receiving a bomb threat. The Churchill Downs-owned facility tweeted updates as the situation unfolded.

Sunday shooting at the Sahara

According to Fox 5 LV, the LVMPD responded to hotel room 2221 of the Sahara Las Vegas at approximately 11:30am on Sunday. At the scene, police found a man with “a gunshot wound to the torso.” Emergency services transported the victim to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he remains “in life threatening condition.”

a suspect has yet to be identified

As of Sunday afternoon — according to Lieutenant Brian Boxler of the LVMPD — a suspect has yet to be identified.

The shooting comes despite the LVMPD making its presence felt in Las Vegas, both down on the streets and on social media. In a tweet on June 28, LVMPD captain for the Las Vegas Strip Dori Koren reported that “no illegal guns were recovered from the Strip last night & no major incidents”:

Koren’s regular tweets talking up the LVMPD’s successes on the Strip follow a spike in Las Vegas towards the end of 2020.

Last year, some experts attributed the surge in violence directly to lower-priced room rates because of COVID-19. The escalation in crime saw resorts such as Encore and Wynn Las Vegas beefing up their on-site security. Wynn also increased its uniformed LVMPD detail back in October.

Evacuation of Pennsylvania facility

Gamblers at Presque Isle Downs & Casino on Saturday had to abandon their games following a bomb threat. According to Jennifer See, the facility’s director of marketing, the scare came in just before 10:00 pm.

law enforcement “deemed the threat unfounded”

Pennsylvania State Police proceeded to investigate the threat with a bomb squad and three K-9s, with See saying that law enforcement “deemed the threat unfounded.”

Presque Isle Downs & Casino posted a Twitter update on Sunday to say it had reopened for business and that police were investigating the incident:

The casino issued a statement thanking “law enforcement for their quick reaction and […] our team for making the experience safe for our guests and themselves.” The facility added that any guest who left “any monies […] at table games or in slot machines” at the time of the evacuation will be able to get their funds back.

Casino-related crime a US-wide trend

The incidents in Las Vegas and Pennslyvania continue a US-wide trend of casino-vicinity-related violence. Some of the headline-grabbing incidents this June include an attempted robbery in Sin City ending in a stabbing, and a man getting a 65-year jail term for beheading a Montana casino guest in 2017.

Last week, the suspect in a triple Oregon casino campground murder turned himself in after forcing a woman to drive him over 2,000 miles to Milwaukee.