‘We didn’t know if we were running in the right direction’: San Antonio couple describes Eagle Pass casino shooting chaos

Couple captured video as patrons sprinted out of casino unknowingly towards suspect

EAGLE PASS - – A San Antonio couple at the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel in Eagle Pass when gunshots were fired described the hour they spent terrified and uncertain of what was happening.

Sara Almaraz and Rene Juarez captured the moment when a fun casino trip turned into chaos Sunday.

“We just heard screaming. When I was running, people were like bumping into me, and then people’s cellphones were falling,” Almaraz said. “We didn’t know if we were running in the right direction. I didn’t even realize I was still recording until we were outside.”

San Antonio couple describes Eagle Pass casino shooting chaos (KSAT)

Almaraz and Juarez document their weekly casino trips in a YouTube channel called S&R vs. Slots and were taking a video when another patron yelled there was an active shooter and told them to run outside.

“The shooter went to the parking garage, which is exactly where we were standing, so we were like, ‘oh shoot.’ And that’s when they were telling everyone to come inside. I think that’s when they realized that he was outside,” Almaraz said.

Their group moved to multiple locations during the ordeal while even the hotel rooms were evacuated.

“There was probably about 500 people. We heard there was groups in the front, the side, the back of the casino, with guards. They did not want to let us leave even to our cars. They said, ‘We don’t know where he’s at,’” Juarez said.

San Antonio couple describes Eagle Pass casino shooting chaos (KSAT)

When law enforcement realized the suspect had driven away from the casino, they gave the all-clear.

“Once it was safe to go back in, we saw there were drinks everywhere. There were shoes everywhere,” Juarez said, describing remnants of the chaos.

On Sunday night, the Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office posted a photo on its Facebook page confirming they found the alleged shooter’s car miles away and arrested him.

Shortly after midnight on December 5th, 2021 DCSO Communications received a call of a vehicle possibly involved in a...

Posted by Dimmit County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Marion Boyd on Sunday, December 5, 2021

The casino released the following statement:

“Early Sunday morning, December 5, 2021, a security incident occurred outside the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel located in Eagle Pass, Texas. This incident resulted in a temporary interruption of business while being investigated. Approximately one hour after the security incident occurred, the facility was re-opened and normal business resumed. It was confirmed that the security incident occurred outside of the facility and no injuries or property damage have been reported. Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel are fully open and operating normally.

Details about the shooting itself are still limited as law enforcement investigates.

Almaraz and Juarez say they are just relieved to hear there were no injures and the suspect was found.

They said they’ve been going to the casino for years, and they always feel safe. They said this seemed to be an isolated incident and plan to return to the casino for future trips.

“We can’t be scared living our lives no matter where we’re at,” they said.

About the Author

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

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