Shootout Harrah’s Tahao casino

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A shootout across a high-stakes players lounge in Harrah’s Tahoe casino killed one man, injured two sheriff’s deputies and sent gamblers running for the doors Saturday afternoon, authorities and witnesses said.

No one else was in the lounge, just off the main casino, at the time, Harrah’s spokesman John Packer said.

Investigators were still trying to determine who fired first and what led to the confrontation. They were questioning a woman believed to have been with the suspect, a man described as about 50 who died at the casino.

“His identity, motive and the manner in which he died are under investigation,” Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said. “We’re still trying to put the pieces together.”

The two deputies had been investigating a report of a suspicious person at the casino.

Deputy Dan Nelson was shot in the hand and hip, and Deputy Erik Eissinger’s bullet-proof vest stopped a bullet to the torso. Hospital officials declined to divulge their conditions, but Mezzetta said the injuries were not life-threatening.

The main casino remained open Saturday evening with only the crime scene cordoned off.

Witnesses said the card area wasn’t crowded when the shots rang out around 2 p.m.

“I heard a `pop, pop, pop,” Jeff Wren, 23, of Sacramento, Calif., told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. “All I saw was a lot of people running for the door.”

Packer said most of the casino’s gamblers weren’t aware of the shooting. He said hotel security had requested the deputies’ assistance, but he didn’t know why the man was under suspicion.