HENDERSON, Nev. >> The man who apparently shot and killed himself in a busy Easter Sunday buffet line at a suburban Las Vegas casino had a lengthy dispute with managers at the resort and had been banned from the business.
The death set off panic at the M Resort Spa and Casino in Henderson as people dined at the packed Easter buffet around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Police said a 53-year-old man was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted wound and that a car fire in the parking garage is linked to the shooting.
Marina Rizk, a 21-year-old college student from Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview she was with three people that evening and had waited an hour to get into the buffet. They had just finished eating and were outside of the restaurant when people shouted about a man with a gun in the line.
“There were people in Easter dresses,” she said.
Rizk described a chaotic scene. As she ran out of the casino, she said she warned others before going to hide in the bushes outside.
“I remember this one little boy. I remember telling the family, ‘Get the baby. Run. There’s a guy with a gun,” she said.
No one else was shot but two people suffered minor injuries. One person was taken to the hospital after a fall and another was checked out at the scene. The casino did not return multiple phone calls and an email from The Associated Press.
The Las Vegas man apparently described his plans for the suicide in a letter to the Las Vegas Review Journal, which was received by the newspaper Monday.
Michael Hengel, the editor of the newspaper, said the package was from a man named John Noble. Authorities have not released the man’s identity but the newspaper said it confirmed it was Noble by matching police incident report numbers.
Noble had previously contacted the newspaper about an issue with the casino. He said the casino gave him a free lifetime gift of daily buffet meals in September 2010 but revoked it in 2013 over alleged harassment of female restaurant employees.
The man had emailed the newsroom multiple times to air his grievances and then-reporter Adam Kealoha Causey met with him in December 2013.
“He just felt like he had been wronged in the situation because he had won the contest to get the free meals and now he wasn’t getting them,” said Causey, now an editor.
The U.S. Postal Service package sent to the newspaper was two inches thick and contained nearly 300 pages, photos and a DVD.