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Originally published July 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Page modified July 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Suspect accused of shooting 7 in Muckleshoot Casino is booked

A 42-year-old Covington man accused of wounding seven people at the Muckleshoot Casino was booked Sunday into the King County Jail for investigation of four counts of attempted homicide, according to Auburn police.

Seattle Times staff reporters

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Chaos erupted inside a crowded tribal casino in Auburn early Sunday morning when a 42-year-old man walked onto the dance floor and opened fire with a handgun, shooting his estranged wife, her male dance partner and her sister, according to police.

At least four other people suffered less serious injuries, either from gunshots or in the panic that ensued, said Auburn police Cmdr. Mike Hirman.

The suspect, a Covington man, was arrested and was booked Sunday afternoon into the King County Jail for investigation of four counts of attempted homicide. Charges could be filed as early as Monday, he said.

The man's neighbors in Covington described him as a quiet man who had recently lost his job. They said his wife had left him in the past year and took the couple's four children.

The shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m. on the dance floor at Club Galaxy, a nightclub at the Muckleshoot Casino.

Police Cmdr. Jamie Sidell said the alleged shooter's estranged wife "was in the company of another male. Both were dancing, both were out there on the dance floor."

The suspect, he said, "went up there with a purpose, so we have to assume at this point he was looking for the female victim in this case."

After shooting the woman and her dance partner, the gunman then fired multiple rounds inside the nightclub, Sidell said.

Detectives said the gunman was tackled by casino security officers. An off-duty Auburn police officer, who was working at the casino, placed him under arrest.

The four most seriously injured victims were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and three others were taken to the Valley Medical Center in Renton. Valley Medical Center spokeswoman Kim Blakely said the three individuals were "observed and released" after being taken to the hospital's emergency room.

"Nobody was injured badly enough that they required treatment," she said Sunday afternoon.

Susan Gregg, spokeswoman for Harborview, said two of the victims brought to the Seattle hospital were in serious condition Sunday and the other two were in satisfactory condition. She said the victims are three women, ages 34, 39 and 28; and a 29-year-old man.

Sidell said the suspect is expected to be transferred to the King County Jail and would have an initial court appearance Monday.

Police searched his home and detectives were interviewing the suspect, Hirman said.

They said police had arrived at the house — occupied by the suspect and two or three other men — early Sunday morning.

The Seattle Times generally does not identify suspects unless criminal charges are filed.

One neighbor, Rebecca Wells, 30, who lives across the street from the small-beige home at the end of a cul-de-sac, said the men who lived there mostly kept to themselves.

Wells said police had responded to the house more than once in the past year. She said the man had been depressed since he underwent surgery and was unable to find work.

His wife, she said, supported the family by working at a local grocery. "He seemed like he was down in the dumps, but didn't seem to be at that point of rage," said Wells. "We thought he was depressed but that he would get back on his feet. I never would have thought he'd do something like that."

Auburn police completed their investigation at the casino early Sunday morning, Sidell said. Detectives now have to talk to a large number of witnesses, he said.

"What I'm hearing is that there were a lot of people there who heard shots and saw people falling. There's a lot of investigation that needs to be done," Sidell said.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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