Jan. 15, 2001
Casino patron hurts 3, kills self
The Associated Press
BILOXI - An Alabama man who shot three people before killing
himself at a busy Gulf Coast casino was apparently distraught over
losing money to a slot machine, a casino employee said Sunday.
Sylvester McConnell, 48, of Mount Vernon, Ala., had been playing
the $5 slot machines late Saturday night at Casino Magic Biloxi
before he began shooting, said a casino employee. After shooting
two women and one man, McConnell shot himself in the head.
"It was mass panic," said a woman from Georgia, who did
not want to be identified, as she checked out of the casino's
hotel Sunday morning.
Chris Harmon, 27, of Escatawpa and Tanya Cooper, 28, of Vancleave
were listed in critical condition Sunday at Biloxi Regional Medial
Center. Ut Pham, 44, of Pascagoula was in good condition at Ocean
Police said Harmon and Cooper had been on a date.
The casino employee, who also asked not to be identified, said
McConnell had been in the casino before and was upset Saturday
night after losing at the slot machines.
Capt. Steve Patterson of the Biloxi Police Department said two
handguns were found at the scene, and AMR workers said another
handgun was found on McConnell at the hospital. It was the first
shooting inside a casino on the Mississippi Coast since the
industry opened here in 1992.