Ex-Employee Shoots Manager, Then Self
San Diego County sheriff's deputies gather at a staging area on the Barona Indian Reservation where a gunman entered casino offices earlier Tuesday. [AP]
San Diego Union Tribune via YellowBrix
December 30, 2009
LAKESIDE — A Barona Gaming Commission employee who was fired last month walked into a commission office armed with a shotgun Tuesday morning and shot and killed a manager, then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore identified the shooter in the murder-suicide as Donnell Roberts, 38, of El Cajon. He worked as an investigator for the commission before he was terminated in November.
Roberts’ ex-wife, Maria Small of Racine, Wis., said Roberts was a former Marine who was discharged from the service in 1994 after serving in the Gulf War. She described him as a man who was sometimes violent and “always angry.”
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The bodies of both men were found about 2:30 p.m. inside the manager’s office, Gore said.
The sheriff said that Roberts drove a red truck to the gaming commission building about 10 a.m. and went inside with the shotgun slung over his shoulder. Earlier, authorities had said the weapon was believed to have been a rifle.
Roberts told three secretaries who were in a front office to leave, then went into the manager’s office. Another 13 to 15 gaming commission employees who were also in the building left through a back door.
After they left, three to four shots were heard, Gore said.
Sheriff’s Department deputies, tribal police and California Highway Patrol officers surrounded the building and a SWAT team was called. Authorities tried unsuccessfully to reach Roberts, and at 2 p.m., they set off a flash-bang grenade. At 2:33 p.m., two robots were sent inside, and the bodies were located, Gore said.
The SWAT team then entered the building, the sheriff said.
Gore said it was only a matter of moments from the time Roberts entered the building until the shots were fired. The unharmed commission employees who fled were very shaken, he said.
“Obviously they’re very distraught … it has been a very traumatic day for all of them,” the sheriff said.
Gore said authorities confirmed within an hour after the shooting occurred that at least one person was still inside with the shooter. It was not known at that time if either was alive.
Casino patrons were not evacuated during the incident, but the parking garage and main entrance to the casino were closed for about an hour as the initial investigation began.