A shooting at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon left horrified tribal police watching as their armed suspect plummeted from the fourth level of a Foxwoods parking garage to the pavement below. The shooting occurred after the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police attempted to arrest the man on an outstanding warrant. The Hartford Courant reports that, according to state police, the Foxwoods shooting occurred in the Fox Tower parking garage at approximately 11:30 a.m.
According to the Ledyard Patch, state police spokeswoman Kelly Grant issued a statement regarding the Foxwoods shooting in which she said the suspect “pointed a firearm” at the tribal officers when they tried to serve him with an arrest warrant. Police have not released the charge or charges for which the warrant was issued.
“Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police ordered the suspect to drop his weapon, however he did not comply. At least one Mashantucket Tribal Police Officer discharged at least one round from their duty weapon at the suspect.”
To add insult to injury, after the shooting, the suspect fell from the fourth level of the Foxwoods parking garage and landed on the pavement below. Although tribal officers gave the suspect first aid, he was declared dead. No other injuries were reported to other patrons or to police in the shooting, said Grant.
State police reported that both the tribal police and New London’s state attorney asked Eastern District Major Crime Squad detectives to respond to the scene. Also responding to the scene of the Foxwoods shooting were officials from the chief medical examiner’s office. They will perform an autopsy to determine whether the shot fired by the officer or the fall from the parking garage caused the man’s death. At this time, it remains unclear if the shot fired actually hit the man or if the man fired his weapon.
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The Fox Tower parking garage at Foxwoods has been closed while state police investigate the shooting. Patrons of Foxwoods Resort Casino whose vehicles had been parked on levels 1 through 3 of the garage were allowed to leave in their vehicles after the shooting, but the garage is closed to incoming traffic as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Levels 4 and 5 will remain closed to all traffic until cleared for opening by investigators.
Connecticut State Police say the Foxwoods shooting situation has been handled and there is no danger to employees or patrons of Foxwoods. Save for the Fox Tower parking garage, the rest of Foxwoods is open without restrictions, although witnesses reported that Foxwoods had been on lockdown during the initial police investigation. WTNH spoke with Saratoga Springs, N.Y., resident Tom Thibeault regarding his wife, who was in Fox Tower’s convention center area when the shooting occurred.
“She thought it was surreal because people just kept going about business at the show – talking, whatever – but they just couldn’t leave that convention area.”
Thibeault’s wife, who remained stuck for hours in the Fox Tower valet area at Foxwoods due to the lockdown, spoke to WTNH.
“Initially it was scary, but then it was a little frustrating. I mean, I just kind of take it for what it is. There’s been a lot of terrible things in this world and I’ve kind of… I was across the street when 911 happened so for me this is, like, okay, there’s a lot worse things that happen; you just have to be calm.”
Already anxious employees of the Tanger outlet stores, on edge by the recent discovery of bombs found in New York and New Jersey, reported to WTNH that police kept them informed as to the status of the lockdown at Foxwoods, but not being told the nature of the incident was unnerving.
Foxwoods Resort Casino is located in Ledyard, Conn. The hotel casino is comprised of six casinos and covers 9,000,000 sq ft of the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation. In addition to several restaurants, Foxwoods has 2,266 hotel rooms. The casino made headlines in 2013 when, according to the Inquisitr, casino management tried to impose a dress code on its cocktail waitresses that would have required them to wear heels at least two inches high. They eventually settled for requiring only that shoes be black and polished.
State police are not releasing the suspect’s identity at this time, nor are they naming the police officers involved in the Foxwoods shooting. Sgt. William Bohonowicz confirmed that at least one shot was fired by a tribal officer. A spokesperson for Mashantucket referred reporters from Hartford Courant to the state police.
[Featured Image by Jessica Hill/AP Images]