A California man with a previous drug arrest was identified Sunday as the gunman killed in a shootout with sheriff's deputies inside Harrah's Tahoe casino, but what set off the shooting remained a mystery.
The trouble started after an acquaintance of the shooter, 53-year-old Harvey Ex, told casino security that she was concerned about his behavior, Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini said.
The security guards found Ex uncooperative and called the sheriff's department, which sent two deputies. They were in a high-stakes players' lounge off the main casino gambling floor when the shots rang out, Pierini said.
Ex was hit multiple times and died at the casino. Deputy Dan Nelson was shot in the arm and hip and released Sunday from a Reno hospital, and Deputy Erik Eissinger's bulletproof vest deflected a shot to his abdomen.
It wasn't immediately clear who fired first or why Ex had a gun, and toxicology test results could take several weeks.
"We haven't had a chance to interview the deputies yet and we still don't know what happened in the lounge," Pierini said Sunday. "But I think it would be fair to say he was unstable ... and that could have something to do with what happened."
Ex, from Sunset Beach, Calif., has at least one previous arrest on drug charges, Pierini said. He said Ex had traveled to the Lake Tahoe area to spend the weekend with the woman, whom he did not identify.
Harrah's spokesman John Packer said guns are forbidden at the resort but officials do not conduct searches.