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Potawatomi officials address weekend shooting incident

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Potawatomi Bingo Casino was shut down early Sunday morning, and the 24-hour operation did not reopen until 9:00 a.m., after police say a 27-year-old Wauwatosa man shot a 23-year-old Milwaukee woman in the leg, inside the casino.

Police were able to take the gunman into custody on the casino grounds.

On Monday, June 17th, Potawatomi Bingo Casino officials addressed this weekend's violent incident.

"I hate to say this is the new reality, but I think every business, including our casino, has to look at ways to prevent this from happening," Potawatomi Bingo Casino spokesman Ryan Amundson said.

Amundson says despite the casino's "no weapons" policy, someone brought a gun and fired it early Sunday morning. Now, casino officials are working to reassure customers.

"This absolutely was an isolated event. To put this into perspective, we've been open 22 years and welcome 6 million people a year.  That's the size of a large city and we have never had gunshots fired on the floor before," Amundson said.

Witnesses told FOX6 News it appears the 23-year-old victim was caught in the crossfire during a struggle on the casino floor.

One witness told FOX6 News it was the young woman's birthday.

"I was upstairs at the bingo hall, and then when it was over they told everybody to exit because it was a shooting downstairs. The security guards was there. They dropped like everybody else dropped. They wasn’t too much protecting each other. They were trying but they were scared too. They fell to the floor. The whole casino fell to the floor basically," witness Shelia King told FOX6 News.

Amundson says the security guards at Potawatomi are trained to take cover and report the incident, as they are not armed.

One witness told FOX6 News he feels there needs to be more security at the Casino.

"I was like, 'wow, for real?' I didn't think you could get a gun on the gaming floor. When you come on the premises, there should be like a magnet or something so people know you're coming in with something. I guess now they need to make a change to make that happen," a witness told FOX6 News.

De Von Dent, who shared pictures with FOX6 News said it seemed the gunman was upset after someone had looked at his girlfriend. A skirmish followed, and the firearm surfaced, and that began a struggle for the weapon -- a handgun witnesses describe as having an extended clip.

Potawatomi officials say a security guard was knocked to the floor when the fight broke out, and several others were attending to a medical emergency on a different floor.

"We're going to be looking at every policy, every protocol to see what we can do to prevent a situation like this from happening again," Amundson said.

Potawatomi officials say they have reviewed security footage, and determined there were no issues in terms of the way Casino officials responded to the incident.

The suspect in this case has not yet been charged.

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