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OSBI investigating shooting at Bartlesville Osage Casino Hotel

District Attorney’s office also prosecuting a stabbing that took place over the weekend at the new casino

A person was shot and killed at the new Bartlesville Osage Casino Hotel this morning. Since neither the victim or the alleged suspect are Native American, the case is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The Osage Nation issued the following statement:

“We can confirm that an individual was shot and killed early this morning outside of the Osage Casino & Hotel in Bartlesville. Earlier reports that an Osage Nation Police Officer was responsible for this shooting are false. Neither the victim nor the suspect are tribal members; therefore, jurisdictional authority is under the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Osage Nation Police Department (ONPD) and Osage Casino & Hotel Security are fully cooperating with OSBI on this criminal investigation and will report all facts as soon as possible.”

Fox 23 had falsely reported earlier that an Osage Nation police officer was responsible for the shooting but then took that version of the article down from its website. Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden confirmed an ON police officer was not to blame.

“What I was told this morning was someone had called Osage Nation to report someone who had possibly stolen some of their property was at the casino,” Virden said. “The tribal officer responded and had some kind of altercation with the suspect and was trying to stop him from getting in a vehicle and somehow it ended up with the suspect driving with the Osage Nation officer like possibly half in and half out of the vehicle and a citizen stepped in and shot the person driving off with the officer, is what I was told.”

Virden said the OCSO was assisting the OSBI in preparing a search warrant for the investigation.

Osage News received reports that a stabbing also took place at the new Bartlesville casino over the weekend and Virden confirmed.

“I did see on the (dispatch) log where there had been a stabbing at the casino over the weekend,” he said.

Virden said the OCSO did not handle the stabbing case.

Osage Nation Communications Director Abigail Mashunkashey also confirmed a stabbing took place and that it was sent to the DA’s office for prosecution.

According to Mashunkashey the ONPD officer “is ok and reached out to a mental health professional to discuss the situation involving this incident. We are awaiting a final report from the OSBI on the full investigation.”

Police tape stretches around a blue truck in the parking lot of the Bartlesville Osage Casino Hotel, which just opened on Nov. 16, 2023. ECHO REED/Osage News

Osage Casinos also made the following statement:

“We can confirm there was an incident in the parking lot of Osage Casino Hotel in Bartlesville early this morning resulting in one fatality. No casino employees were involved, and we are currently working with Osage Nation Police and the OSBI in their investigation. “The safety of casino guests is of the highest importance. The casino remains open as the investigation continues. We send our thoughts and sympathy to the family of the victim.”

Osage Casinos CEO Kimberly Pearson made this statement on Nov. 22, 2023:

“I’m deeply saddened that our new Bartlesville property has become the site of acts of violence. It has been a heartbreaking week for the victims who were affected in addition to the Osage Nation who has been planning for this new facility for years.  

“We spend an extensive amount of time on security and training our staff on the best practices to keep our guests safe, and in response to the events in the last week, and with violent incidents escalating across the country, we must implement additional precautions. Safety is at the core of all our security measures and training, and I want to send a clear message that we have zero tolerance for acts of violence. 

“At Osage Hotel and Casinos, we have several layers of security. Some are visible and some are not. Guests can easily spot our security officers, who are constantly on the floor monitoring and observing all activities. They are easily recognizable in red shirts. You can also easily see the surveillance cameras that are being monitored at all times.  

“However, there is also an immense amount of casino security that is unseen and needs to remain private for the protection of our guests and their enjoyment.  

“The new Bartlesville Hotel and Casino is a beautiful facility that is surrounded by the love and commitment of top-notch staff. We are so proud of this great asset to the community, and we will do everything in our power to ensure our guests have the safe entertainment experience they deserve.”   

This story was updated on Nov. 22, 2023, to include a statement from Osage Casinos CEO Kimberly Pearson.

Author

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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Dutyhttps://osagenews.org

Title: Editor

Email: sshaw@osagenation-nsn.gov

Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.
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