January 17, 2001 at 3:11 PM CST - Updated July 12 at 2:50 AM
Late Tuesday afternoon Casino Magic's general manager sat down with industry leaders, and talked candidly about Saturday night's shooting tragedy. The industry wants to learn all it can about the incident, so coast casinos can be more prepared if somebody else fires a gun in a crowded casino.
General manager John Ferrucci answered questions from the media about the Saturday night shooting. That night, an Alabama man opened fire in Casino Magic's high limit area. He wounded three gamblers, before he killed himself. Ferrucci said his industry will not overreact to the shooting. Security guards will not carry guns in the future. "We're satisfied that whatever was going to happen was going to happen. There was going to be nothing that ever would have prevented that. The fact is, we controlled the situation that no one took unnecessary risks. And no one was injured other than those that were. And that's the best we could hope for," Ferrucci said Tuesday night.
Biloxi chief investigator Richard O'Bannon said all he could about the suspect Sylvester McConnell, and the the Saturday night shooting. "There is no doubt in our mind that it was a self inflicted gunshot wound," he said. Biloxi police now say it took Sylvester McConnell less than a minute to pull the trigger on Saturday night's commotion.
According to police reports, the Alabama man was in Casino Magic's high limit area when he fired six shots out of a 357 revolver. They say three other bullets -- including the fatal shot that killed McConnell -- came from a 38 caliber handgun. But police still don't know why it happened.
In the chaotic moments that followed, Casino Magic has said its employees handled the situation in a professional manner. An e-mail to WLOX News reinforced that belief. It came from a gambler who wrote that "casino security and everyone acted as well as could be expected."
After studying surveillance video of the Saturday night shooting, Biloxi investigators returned the tapes to Casino Magic. Since police ruled this a suicide, they say the only piece of the puzzle they're still trying to figure out is why McConnell did this. So Tuesday, investigators drove to Alabama to talk with McConnell's family and friends, and with Mount Vernon, Alabama police. There plans were to talk with them, found out what they can as to what may have caused this to happen Saturday night. Right now they don't have any indication what caused this or why it took place.