An Oregon man reportedly with severe mental illness who opened fire last week at the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton is facing federal charges.
The US Department of Justice for the District of Oregon last Friday announced federal charges against 51-year-old Javier Francisco Vigil for his role in the August 17 shooting incident at the tribal casino located roughly 200 miles east of Portland. The US Attorney’s Office for the Oregon district alleges that Vigil committed a Hobbs Act robbery when he entered the Wildhorse casino with a firearm and demanded $1 million.
Federal prosecutors allege Vigil walked into the casino in the early afternoon hours that Wednesday and proceeded straight to the cage where he brandished a pistol and instructed the cashier to give him $1 million. Vigil allegedly told the worker that he would “bathe everyone in blood” if his demands were not met.
After receiving approximately $70,000 in cash, Vigil exited as police responded to the scene. Gunfire was exchanged, with Vigil and one bystander being struck. Vigil was transported to an area hospital where he was later arrested and subsequently charged. His family members told a local news station that Vigil has struggled with his mental health for many years.
The Wildhorse Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The casino has more than 1,100 slot machines and 14 table games.
The bystander injured in the shooting was later identified as a Pendleton School District employee. That bystander’s injuries are not life-threatening, school Superintendent Kevin Headings confirmed.
Incident Report Details Chaotic Scene
In the criminal complaint filed against Vigil obtained by Casino.org, FBI agents detail a dangerous scene inside the Wildhorse Casino on August 17.
FBI Special Agent Jennifer Duke wrote in the complaint that officers with the Umatilla Tribal Police Department (UTPD) were first to arrive in response to a robbery in progress. The responding officer called for backup after Vigil waived his firearm.
At approximately 1:03 pm PST, Vigil departed the casino with the cash. The investigation revealed that Vigil exchanged gunshots with an UTPD officer outside the casino. Vigil was injured in the shooting and subsequently underwent surgery,” Duke detailed.
Surveillance video shows Vigil wearing a football jersey, dark baseball cap, and black sunglasses as he points his pistol at the casino cashier worker.
The casino cashier told law enforcement that she initially thought Vigil’s note he slid her demanding $1 million in cash was a joke. But when he pulled out the gun, it quickly became apparent this was no laughing matter.
The worker said Vigil told her “I’m f***ing god.” She proceeded to hand over as much cash as she could while simultaneously pressing an emergency button to call for an immediate police response.
Vigil has been charged with Hobbs Act robbery and a single count of using/carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Persons found guilty of a Hobbs Act offense face up to 20 years in prison. The firearm possession charge is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years because Vigil fired the weapon.
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