Seminole Hard Rock Casino Garage Murder Suspects Arrested in Florida, Police Reveal

Two men are heading to local court in connection with the July fatal shooting of a third man at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino parking garage. The incident happened shortly after the victim spent the evening at the Hollywood, Fla. gaming property.

Violent incidents have taken place elsewhere in casino garages Violent incidents have taken place elsewhere in casino garages
Dion Brown, 21, and Jaleel Thomas, 25, were arrested in connection with the murder of a third man at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in July. (Image: Florida Corrections via WPLG)

Dion Brown, age 21, and Jaleel Thomas, age 25, were each charged with felony murder, Seminole tribal police announced this week. The victim, identified as Pierre LaCroze, was fatally wounded on July 16 on the sixth floor of the Winner’s Way garage, the Miami Herald reported.

LaCroze, age 37, had been at the casino with some friends before the shooting, WPLG, a local TV station reported. Later, LaCroze was discovered in his blue Mercedes Benz, local news reports said.

He was slumped over and was wounded in the head, reported WTVJ, another local TV station. Jewelry was discovered near the car, the report adds. It was broken, suggesting he may have been robbed.

Suspect Seen in Video, Police Said

Around the time of the shooting, Brown was seen running away from the victim’s car in a surveillance video, news reports said. He was also allegedly videotaped in a Ford Focus.

That same car was occupied earlier by Thomas and an unnamed woman, news reports said.

On Wednesday, Brown was arrested near Orlando. As of Thursday, he was being held in the Polk Correctional Facility, the Herald said.

Thomas was arrested in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 24. He was being held in the Broward County Jail on Thursday, the Herald added.

Both men were being held without bond, news reports said. They are expected to enter pleas in the court located in Broward County.

LaCroze had resided in North Lauderdale. He was the father of three children, news reports add.

Casino Parking Garages Often Sites for Violent Crime

Across the country, multiple US gaming property garages were the scenes of shootings and other crime, Casino.org reported in September.

For instance, a September shooting took place in Agua Caliente Casino garage in Palm Springs, Calif. In August, a fatal shooting took place at an Emerald Queen Casino garage in Tacoma, Washington.

In October, in still another incident, Palm Springs, Calif. police officers shot two robbery suspects as they tried to speed away from the parking garage at Agua Caliente Casino. They had just allegedly robbed a woman at gunpoint.

Injuries to the suspects did not appear to be life-threatening, police said. No police officers were injured, the department added.

It is not surprising such crimes take place in parking garages, Brad Bonnell, a principal of the Hotel Security Group, told Casino.org in September that given their “isolation” and how they provide criminals “anonymity, predators know that casino-hotel garages … [have] well-funded tourists.”

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