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Casino shootout in Pine Bluff left trail of casings

Court records describe aftermath of encounter that wounded 2 men by Bill Bowden | March 19, 2021 at 6:51 a.m.
The Quapaw Nation celebrated its Pine Bluff homecoming during the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Saracen Casino, Arkansas’ largest construction project and first purpose-built casino on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. The Casino’s 80,000 square-foot casino gaming floor contains 2,000 slot machines, 35 table games, Sportsbook, a Poker Room and multiple food and beverage options, according to a press release. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stephen Swofford)

Police found 64 shell casings after a shootout outside the Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff on the night of March 11.

Two men who were tossed out of the casino began firing at security officers in the parking lot, and four guards returned fire, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

One security guard, Dakota Goforth, was injured by a gunshot in the abdomen, according to the affidavit.

And one person who was in the car with the gunmen apparently was injured. Dontarious Slater checked himself into Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff the next day with an arm injury, according to the affidavit.

Tirek Langel, 22, of Pine Bluff was charged Wednesday with first-degree battery, accused of firing the shot that wounded Goforth.

Langel also is charged with five counts of committing a terroristic act, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a criminal information filed in circuit court.

Brandon Burnett, 27, of Pine Bluff was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and five counts of discharging a firearm from a car.

The other three men who were in the car with Langel and Burnett haven't been charged in the case. Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter said the case is still under investigation.

Forty-seven of those 64 shell casings were in the vicinity of the four security officers, according to detective Corey Wilfong, who counted the shell casings on the ground that night and wrote the probable-cause affidavit.

A dozen 9mm shell casings were in the area of the parking lot where the gunmen were firing, wrote Wilfong. He found another five 9mm shell casings on the entrance/exit road to the casino.

Lt. David De Foor, a spokesman for the Police Department, said the guns used in the shooting were semi-automatic.

Slater told police that the trouble started in the casino when Langel became intoxicated and began harassing a woman he knew, wrote Wilfong.

"Mr. Slater said Tirek became very irate with the security guards that were trying to get him to calm down," according to the affidavit. "Mr. Slater stated Tirek got into a physical altercation with the security guards and the guards escorted them out."

Slater, Langel and Burnett got into Burnett's car in the parking lot, according to the affidavit. Two other men can be seen on surveillance video leaving the casino and getting in the car afterward, wrote Wilfong.

"The Black male with blonde dreads, later identified as Tirek Langel, exits the Nissan Maxima and begins shooting toward the security guards," according to the affidavit. "The security guards begin returning fire."

Burnett drove away, firing at the guards from the car window, Joshua Mcafee, who was in the car, told Wilfong.

Fleeing in the bullet-riddled Maxima, the men had to stop during the getaway to change a flat tire, Mcafee told Wilfong.

At that point, Mcafee and Kuro'n Brown left and Mcafee's sister arrived to pick them up, according to the affidavit.

Police said Monday that four of the five men sought for questioning in the case had surrendered. It wasn't clear when, where or how Langel was arrested, but he was in the Jefferson County jail on Thursday, and his bail has been set at $250,000, according to a court filing.

Burnett also was in the jail on Thursday. His bail is $150,000.

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