Illegal Gambling Den Dispute in California Leads to Shooting Death

  • The shooting took place at an illegal gambling den on Las Tunas Drive in Temple City
  • The 30-year-old victim passed away at the scene
  • Police have not provided any details on the suspected gunman
  • Neighbors noticed odd activity inside the former restaurant where the shooting took place
police tape at a crime scene
Police are in search of a gunman who shot and killed a man at an illegal gambling den in California. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Police on the hunt for the gunman

Los Angeles area police reported they are on the lookout for a gunman wanted in connection with a shooting at an illegal gambling den. Taking place in Temple City, California on Tuesday afternoon, the incident occurred when a dispute broke out among two individuals.

The gambling venue was a former restaurant property, located near a middle school.

Details of the illegal gambling den shooting

Police arrived on the scene around mid-day, after the shooting occurred. The victim remains anonymous, but officials describe him as a Hispanic male, around 30-years old, with a minimum of one gunshot wound to his upper torso. Paramedics treated the victim, but he was unfortunately pronounced dead on the scene.

Neighbors of the property spoke with reporters and said people were coming and going from the building at odd hours on a consistent basis. This raised suspicion among those who lived in the area about what was going on inside the building.

neighbors were concerned that something terrible might happen due to the constant odd activity

One resident, Pat Lacap, spoke with ABC7, stating that neighbors knew that something was going on for several months. The property was originally a restaurant, but the owners sold it around five years ago. Neighbors were concerned that something terrible might happen due to the constant odd activity, and then this incident occurred, corroborating their concerns.

When police arrived on the scene and made entry, the property was clearly operating as a “casita” or illegal gambling den. After locating the victim inside, police shut down most of Las Tunas Drive to investigate the matter.  

The term casita describes illegal gambling dens in the area, an issue that has become a significant problem in Los Angeles for the past few decades. The word means “little houses” in Spanish.

Huge San Diego Bust in 2021

Los Angeles is not the only city in California dealing with illegal gambling dens. In 2021, after a two-year investigation, the San Diego Police Department, FBI, and other agencies conducted a crackdown on operations in the San Diego area.

In one day, 450 officials searched 24 different locations in the east area of San Diego connected to illegal gambling. Once it was over, police arrested 35 people, with 15 ending in indictments.

The overall investigation resulted in the indictment of 47 people with offenses linked to illegal casino gambling. Charges included operating an illegal gambling business and possessing firearms and drugs.

Commercial casino gaming is illegal in California if players wager against the house. Thus, the illegal establishments pop up as a source of wagering for locals. The indicted individuals were either the owners of the illegal venues or employees. Individuals acted as machine auditors, doormen, money collectors, and the like.

The illegal gambling dens use electronic machines for gaming, offering slots or card game options. Individuals operate such facilities out of homes, flats, or small businesses.