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04-27-2002, 02:07 PM
Authorities say four people killed in shooting at Laughlin, Nevada, casino

Sat Apr 27,11:36 AM ET

By ANGIE WAGNER, Associated Press Writer


LAUGHLIN, Nevada - Four people were shot to death after fighting erupted between motorcycle gangs at a casino early Saturday, authorities said. At least nine other people were shot or stabbed, hospital officials said.


About 100 people were taken into custody and bridges over the Colorado River were temporarily closed to traffic, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.


The shooting occurred on the first floor of Harrah's during the 20th annual River Run, a large gathering of motorcycle clubs that brought up to 80,000 people into the gambling resort this weekend, said Larry Tunforss, a spokesman for the Bullhead City, Arizona, Fire Department, who confirmed the deaths.


Harrah's director of marketing, Laura De La Cruz, said an altercation between rival motorcycle gang members erupted shortly after 2 a.m. She would not give any other details.


Tunforss said about 100 people inside the casino were detained by police after the shooting.


He said police special units and other law enforcement officers from across Arizona and Nevada were called into the area to guard against any other problems.


Aniko Kegyulics was sitting at a bar with her boyfriend when she heard yelling and gunfire.


"There were so many gunshots everything turned gray. Everybody fell to the floor. It was crazy," she said.


Police began allowing people inside the casino to leave about 8 a.m., she said. She passed a body covered with a bloody sheet as she left the casino, she said.


At Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, 10 male patients were being treated, said hospital spokeswoman Ruth Padilla.


The hospital began receiving patients about 2:25 a.m., she said. Three men in critical condition two with gunshot wounds and one with an injury to the skull were flown to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, she said.


Padilla said of the seven men still at her hospital, two were undergoing surgery and were in critical condition. She said the other five were listed in fair condition. Padilla said the injuries ranged from gunshot and stab wounds to injuries sustained in fist fights.


Tunforss said the Red Cross was providing cots for the officers to sleep on because all the hotels in the area were booked up because of the River Run.


The Arizona Department of Public Safety said bridges over the Colorado River leading into Laughlin had been reopened with no restrictions.


Earlier, Tunforss described the city as being in total lockdown. "Nobody can drive in or out of the city," he said.


Laughlin, a town of 8,000, is located 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas near the Arizona border. It has nine casinos, 60 restaurants and 10,000 hotel rooms. It attracts more than 5 million visitors annually.