By ANGIE WAGNER, Associated Press
LAUGHLIN, Nev. (AP) - Rival motorcycle gangs armed with guns and
clashed on a crowded casino floor early Saturday, leaving
three dead and
at least 16 wounded as terrified gamblers ducked for
It was the worst shooting ever inside a Nevada casino.
Denise Massey, 48, was gambling with her fiance on the first floor of
when she noticed 20 to 30 bikers suddenly converge.
"Next thing you know you just hear 'Bam, bam, bam,'" she said. "All
a sudden they're running and just shooting at each other."
Police said the violence erupted when a member of the Mongol
gang walked into a group of Hells Angels. Sixty to 70
people, armed with
guns and knives, were involved in the violence
inside the entrance to Harrah's
casino, authorities said.
All three of the dead were bikers, police said. Numerous people were
and police had recovered a handgun. About 200 people were
said Lt. Vince Cannito, of the Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department,
which patrols the Colorado River
gambling resort 80 miles southeast of
Authorities also warned of the danger for further violence.
"The rumors of retaliation have already hit the street," said Larry
spokesman for the fire department in Bullhead City, Ariz.,
which is across
the river from Laughlin. "Our police department is
beefing up intensely.
There's a definite concern of further
SWAT teams and law enforcement officers from across Arizona and
were called in.
The shooting occurred during the 20th annual River Run, a weekend
of motorcycle clubs that brought up to 80,000 people into
resort town of about 8,000 residents has nine casinos
and attracts about
5 million visitors a year.
Authorities locked down the city after the violence erupted shortly
2 a.m., temporarily closing bridges over the Colorado River.
were reopened later in the morning.
Nevada state archivist Guy Rocha said it was the worst shooting ever
a Nevada casino.
"In every case that's been described to me there was no more than one
This is a threshold," he said.
Aniko Kegyulics was sitting at a casino bar with her boyfriend when
heard yelling and gunfire.
"There were so many gunshots everything turned gray. Everybody fell
the floor. It was crazy," she said.
She passed a body covered with a bloody sheet when police allowed
inside to leave at about 8 a.m., she said.
Chris Welton, 42, of Carson City, had been playing poker.
"Shots just started going off," he said. "There were dead bodies.
nasty. There was a guy about 10 feet from me. He was dead. His
trying to revive him."
John Davidson, 39, grabbed his $1,200 in chips and ducked beneath a
"There were shell casings landing right by us," he said. "I had to
the dealer down. She was screaming."
University Medical Center in Las Vegas was treating five patients,
of whom were in serious condition with gunshot and stab wounds,
supervisor Louise Burns said. Of the other two, one was in
with a skull fracture and the other was in fair
condition with gunshot
and stab wounds.
Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City treated
fight victims. Four were in fair condition and three had been
The whereabouts of the other four injured were not
Authorities were also investigating the death of a biker whose body
found along Interstate 40, a main route between Laughlin and
The man's body was found near Ludlow, a small California desert town
60 miles from the Arizona border. Preliminary reports indicate
from San Diego, had been shot while riding his bike and was
a member of
a motorcycle club, San Bernardino County Sheriff's
spokesman Chip Patterson
It was not immediately known if the death was related to the casino shooting.
Traffic in both directions was being diverted off the interstate as
deputies investigated, the California Highway Patrol
reported. The highway
was later reopened.