Billings, Montana police pursued their investigation this week into two recent shootings — one of which took place at a local casino — to see if they are connected.
In one of them, a man fired three rounds near the bar at the Diamond Jubilee early Sunday night. No one was injured, despite the casino being crowded, according to the Billings Gazette.
The casino is relatively small and apparently does not have a large staff. One employee was working in a back office when an unidentified robber entered the venue. The would-be thief later fled the casino, and was unsuccessful at getting any cash.
In the second shooting later that Sunday night, an unidentified man tried to rob Gas N Go, according to a Billings police department tweet. It is located about six miles away from the casino.
The bandit fired one round of shots at a woman employee. The 26-year-old clerk was wounded, but her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, KULR reported. She was transported in an ambulance to a local hospital for treatment, the Gazette said.
Suspects in both incidents were still at large as of Tuesday.
Crime Spree in Billings Leads to Multiple Shootings
There have been numerous other shootings this month in Billings. At least four victims were injured in city shootings over the past 10 days, the Gazette reported.
On Nov. 10, a 24-year-old woman was injured after she was shot at Shooters Bar and Casino in Billings. A 22-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the shooting, KPAX reported.
Also, in April 2018, Billings was the scene of a police officer fatally shooting a man in Lucky Lil’s casino in a 30-second stand-off. The officer, Sgt. Bret Becker, was found to be justified in his use of deadly force, despite the fact the suspect was armed only with a CO2 gun.
That April night, Shawn Michael Hubbard told his ex-girlfriend he was going to rob a casino and the police would have to shoot him. Police warned Hubbard repeatedly to put his hands up and to drop his gun.
His final words to Becker were, “I’ll shoot. I have hostages.” Becker fired his patrol rifle eight times, hitting Hubbard twice in the chest.
According to the coroner’s report, Hubbard had meth in his system at the time of his death, as well as a huge amount of methadone — almost twice the amount that would likely prove lethal for a first-time user.
Nevada Casino Shootings
Elsewhere, in Nevada, a man allegedly attempted in August to hold up the Golden Nugget and later the Aquarius casinos in Laughlin, Nevada. Following a stand-off, he was shot dead by police after he pointed a gun at them outside the Aquarius, according to police accounts.
In January, security guards at the Green Valley Ranch Casino in Henderson, Nevada shot dead an armed man in the casino lobby. According to police reports, frightened players alerted security after seeing the man walking through the casino with a handgun.
Casinos have been forced to beef up security in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings of October 1, 2017, when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.