Tonight Casino Magic released its first statement since Saturday night's shooting tragedy. In two paragraphs, the casino sent out its prayers to the victims of the tragedy, and it thanked its employees and Biloxi police for the professional way they dealt with this incident.
It all started when Sylvester McConnell's wife dropped him off at Casino Magic, while she went to another casino to gamble. It seemed like a normal night at the casino until surveillance videos showed the suspect turning from a bank of slot machines, pulling out two guns, and firing nine random shots.
The Because he didn't have a casino magic's player's card, authorities aren't sure if Sylvester McConnell lost a lot of money Saturday night, therefore provoking the shooting. Investigator Alan Bond gave WLOX the latest information on the Saturday night shooting. He said police have looked into Sylvester McConnell's background. And from what they can tell, his family finances appear to be in order.
After he began firing, McConnell used two handguns to fire nine shots. Based on what they've seen on surveillance videos and the location of the shell casings, police think the shots were randomly fired. Three coast people were injured by the bullets, 12 others were injured as they tried to run out of the crowded, chaotic casino. Before McConnell died from a self inflicted gunshot, police say they found a third gun and a box of ammunition in his possession.
At this point, sergeant Bond told said that there is nothing to indicate that McConnell was provoked into the shootings. Special equipment will be used Tuesday to further analyze the video.
As for the three shooting victims, the two that were in critical condition yesterday have been upgraded to guarded condition. The third remains in good condition.
WLOX spoke to Patricia White on Saturday, the mother of one of the victims who said, "My baby was shot in the head twice. Her boyfriend had been shot in the liver and kidney's and it's bad, it's real bad."
Another witness said, "We were pulling the machine and all of a sudden you heard, bam!, bam!, bam! Then you get to the floor and got up and you hear bam!" said Palmsy Frantroy.
"I just walked into the high rollers place, and all I heard was gunshots and I just took off running out of there," another witness, Cathy Litz, said.
As people rushed out of the casino, three gunshot victims who had been playing nearby were now seriously injured and down on the floor. One of those was Patricia White's daughter Tanya Cooper.
"She said all of a sudden she was standing there and her boyfriend fell down into her lap," White says. "Then she said she fell over in the blood and all she could do was pray to God to please save him."
After McConnell's shooting rampage, he shot himself in the head. He died at Biloxi Regional Hospital a few hours later. Biloxi police found two weapons inside the high stakes area where the shooting happened and found another gun on McConnell at the hospital.
"I was surprised," said James Lucas, another witness. "I come here all the time. To come here one night, and you're not expecting this now so it hits you, kinda blows you away and brings you back into reality."