Shooting at Ameristar Casino Shooting in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Victim Not Cooperating

Police say a man who was shot outside the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Council Bluffs, Ia., is not cooperating with its investigation.

Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs Iowa police
The parking lot outside the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Iowa is seen. Police say a man was shot while walking in the Council Bluffs casino parking area early this morning. (Image: The Daily Nonpareil)

Iowa State Patrol responded to a 9-1-1 call around 2 am CDT this morning, May 3. Police said a man was found shot in the stomach and was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

The victim is expected to survive but is refusing to assist law enforcement in apprehending the shooter. Police have yet to publicly identify the man but said he is uncooperative.  

Law enforcement did reveal that a dark-colored SUV reportedly approached the man, who was walking outside the casino in the parking lot. A person inside the vehicle allegedly rolled down the window and shot the man. 

The Ameristar Casino Hotel is operated by Penn National Gaming. The property features 160 hotel rooms, and a casino floor with 1,500 slot machines, 20 table games, and a sportsbook.

Casino Shootings

It was a violent weekend for two casinos in the United States. 

Along with the Council Bluffs shooting, two people were shot dead by a shooter inside the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay, Wi. The hotel is connected to the Oneida Casino, a tribal casino owned and operated by the Oneida Nation.

Police identified Bruce K. Pofahl, 62, as the shooter. A former employee of the Duck Creek Kitchen + Bar, Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain said Pofahl allegedly entered the restaurant and shot killed two employees with a 9mm handgun — Jacob T. Bartel, 35, and Ian J. Simpson, 32. A third victim — Daniel L. Mulligan, 28, was also shot but is listed in “serious but stable condition” this morning.

Several law enforcement agencies quickly responded to the shooting and shot and killed Pofahl. The Oneida main casino gaming floor remains closed by the shooting and ongoing investigation. 

Casinos and Crime

Critics of legalized gambling have long claimed that casinos lead to community increases in crime. But numerous studies have concluded otherwise.

One such study was conducted in 2003 by professors and researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno. They analyzed six new casino communities across the US, and six non-casino control communities. 

Crime was expected to rise in the casino communities, consistent with routine activity theory and the belief that casinos serve as hot spots for crime. The analysis yielded few consistent findings across the test and control communities,” explained B. Grant Stitt, who was chair of the university’s Department of Criminal Justice at the time. 

“Crime rates increased significantly in some casino communities, some remained relatively stable, and others decreased. The authors conclude that crime does not inevitably increase with the introduction of a casino into a community, but that the effects of casinos on crime appear to be related to a variety of variables which are only poorly understood,” Stitt explained.

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