A gunman opened fire at a Wisconsin tribal casino complex, killing two people and wounding another in what witnesses described as a storm of bullets before police shot him dead.
Brown County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Kevin Pawlak said the shooting at the Oneida Casino in Green Bay on Saturday night appeared to be a targeted attack.
“He was targeting a specific victim who was not there, but he decided to still shoot some of the victim’s friends or co-workers, it appears,” Mr Pawlak said at a news conference.
Oneida chairman Tehassi Hill told WLUK-TV he was in “disbelief” and called the shooting “scary”. He said the tribe prohibits firearms on its properties but added that “(mass shootings are) kind of a regular thing in this country”.
There is currently an active shooter situation at the Oneida Casino. Several Law Enforcement agencies are working to secure the location. Please do not go near the Main Casino on Hwy 172. We'll post information as it becomes available.Advertisement
— Oneida Casino (@OneidaCasino) May 2, 2021
Authorities have not released the identities of the gunman or his victims. The wounded person was being treated at a Milwaukee hospital, Mr Pawlak said.
The attack happened around 7.30pm in the restaurant at the casino complex operated by the Oneida Nation, whose reservation is on the western side of Green Bay about four miles from Lambeau Field, home of NFL side the Green Bay Packers. The complex includes a casino, conference centre, hotel and restaurant.
Jawad Yatim, a witness, said he saw at least two people shot.
“I know for sure two, because it happened right next to us, literally right next to us,” Mr Yatim said. “But he was shooting pretty aggressively in the building, so I wouldn’t doubt him hitting other people.
“We got the hell out of there. Thank God we’re OK, but obviously we wish the best for everybody who’s been shot.”
Mr Pawlak was not sure if the gunman was a former restaurant employee but said “it appears there’s some relationship that had to do with employment”.
“Whether or not they all worked there, we’re still working on,” he said.
Scene at Oneida Casino in Green Bay, WI is contained. There is no longer a threat to the community.
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— Attorney General Josh Kaul (@WisDOJ) May 2, 2021
Gambler Max Westphal said he was standing outside after being evacuated from the building for what he thought was a minor issue.
“All of a sudden we hear a massive flurry of gunshots — 20 to 30 gunshots, for sure,” he told WBAY-TV. “We took off running towards the highway. There had to have been 50 cop cars that came by on the highway. It was honestly insane.”
Mr Pawlak said authorities called for a tactical alert after receiving the report of an active gunman. That “brings every agency from around the area to the casino, to the Radisson,” he said of the large law enforcement presence.
Mr Hill told WLUK-TV security is tight in the casino but the tribe may have to consider tougher protocols depending on investigators’ findings.
Governor Tony Evers issued a statement late on Saturday saying he was “devastated” to hear about the shooting.
“Our hearts, thoughts, and support go out to the Oneida Nation, the Ashwaubenon and Green Bay communities, and all those affected by this tragedy.”
The Oneida is one of 11 tribes that operate casinos in Wisconsin under agreements with the state. Essentially, the tribes pledge a percentage of gaming revenue to the state in exchange for the exclusive right to offer casino gambling.