Published Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 | 7:04 a.m.
Updated Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 | 7 p.m.
Map of Bally's Las Vegas
3645 Las Vegas Blvd., S., Las Vegas
A Las Vegas Strip nightclub patron was shot dead early this morning after he tackled and wrestled with an armed, disgruntled man who had just shot two security officials at Drai’s nightclub, Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie said.
At an afternoon news conference at Metro headquarters, Gillespie identified the suspect as Benjamin Frazier, 41, of Las Vegas.
Gillespie filled in some details of the shooting, which remains under investigation:
Frazier wanted to look around in Drai’s, which operates as an after-hours club, to determine if he wanted to stay before paying a cover charge. After looking around, Frazier decided to pay the cover and enter the club.
Shortly thereafter, Frazier got into an argument with security officials.
Gillespie said Frazier pulled out a handgun and shot one security official in the arm. A second security guard ran up and was shot in the stomach.
At that point, a patron leaving the club saw what was happening and tackled Frazier in an attempt to subdue him. Frazier fought back and fired his gun several times, hitting the patron and killing him, Gillespie said.
Frazier ultimately was subdued by security officers and held for police by hotel security.
The wounded were taken to University Medical Center. No information on their conditions was immediately available.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office has not released the identity of the deceased patron, whom Gillespie called “heroic” for preventing more bloodshed.
“No matter what event, we are reminded each time how precious life is and how in these many cases, certain citizens step forward and sacrifice their lives for the good of many,” Gillespie said.
Frazier, who suffered a head injury during the struggle to subdue him, also was taken to UMC. He was booked in absentia into Clark County Detention Center on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Frazier has a history of legal trouble involving alcohol establishments, police said. In 1996, he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in an incident at a local nightclub. In 2012, he agreed to plead guilty to battery, was placed on six months of probation and ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for six months, court records show.
Police are investigating whether Frazier was legally able to carry a firearm — and, if not, where he procured the handgun, Gillespie said. It’s also unclear whether Frazier was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting.
In a statement, Bally's owner Caesars Entertainment said Drai's and Bally's were "actively supporting the efforts of law enforcement."
"The safety and security of our guests is our number one priority," the statement said. "Drai’s After Hours and Bally’s Las Vegas extend deepest sympathies to those injured by the shooter."
The nightclub, operated by Drai’s Management Group, moved to its temporary location at Bally’s earlier this year after Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon closed for renovation and rebranding.
Gillespie repeatedly referred to today’s shooting as a “random act” that he says is not indicative of more violence on the Strip, despite a deadly shooting and car crash on Las Vegas Boulevard in February. That’s when an altercation at Haze nightclub in Aria spilled onto the city’s most famous street, where Ammar Harris is accused of shooting into a Maserati, killing the driver and causing a fiery crash with a taxicab that left two others dead.
“This is an event that I’m sure will develop continued dialogue in regards to keeping Las Vegas a very safe tourist destination,” Gillespie said.
A sizeable portion of Bally’s casino floor was taped off near Drai’s, where debris littered the floor as uniformed officers investigated, but otherwise, it appeared to be business as usual by mid-morning. Gambling continued elsewhere.
Bally’s guests Kris and Art Psiurski noticed yellow police tape around several rows of slot machines outside Drai’s just after 9:30 a.m.
They later learned what happened when someone in the casino asked, “You hear about the shooting?”
The Psiurskis, visiting from Alberta, British Columbia, didn’t, but the news was chilling.
“That’s Vegas,” said Kris Psiurski, 63. “Where we come from, people don’t get shot in public very often.”
This was her first visit to Las Vegas in three decades.
Hotel guest Steve Pratt thought about how close he had been to where the shooting took place when he walked past police standing guard. Past the tape, he could see numbered cards used for marking bullet casings outside the club doors.
When his friends retired upstairs to their room, Pratt, a 45-year-old Indiana native, decided to hit the slots. He sat down at a machine with a clear view of the club, but went to bed before the shooting.
“I was sitting right there,” Pratt said, showing his friends. “That could’ve been me.”
Just before 11 a.m., crime scene investigators toting brown paper evidence bags left the scene.
Surrounded by uniformed Metro Police officers and detectives, maintenance workers wearing blue rubber gloves cut out a large square from the casino's carpet, catching the attention of passing guests.
This is a developing story. Check back soon for more. The Associated Press contributed to this report.