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Man in coma, but not wounded by bullets, after police shooting at Casino of the Sun

Note: This story is more than 2 years old.

Man in coma, but not wounded by bullets, after police shooting at Casino of the Sun


A man who was shot at by police — but not struck by any bullets — during a Saturday incident at a Tucson-area casino has been hospitalized and is in a coma, sources said.

Update: Docs say man was faking 'coma' after arrest at Tucson casino

The man — whose identity has not been released — was involved in an incident at Casino of the Sun that included officers of the Pascua Yaqui Police Department firing their guns at him late in the afternoon or early evening. The man was not shot, nor were any officers reportedly shot at.

The man, described as white, was taken to a local hospital emergency room and was in a coma with indications that he may not survive, sources said Saturday night. Sunday, hospital sources with information about the case said that the man was breathing on his own, and had not been intubated overnight.

Social media posts described an incident in which "fake bills" were attempted to be passed at the casino, on West Valencia Road on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation. During a confrontation, the man reportedly pulled out a BB pistol, and then a knife, and was shot at by tribal police officers several times, sources said.

PYPD did not respond to a request for comment. could not immediately verify the claimed eyewitness accounts of the incident, nor details relayed by law enforcement sources.

The FBI is investigating the incident, but has not responded to requests for comment. The Tucson Police Department was not involved in the case, a spokesman said. The Pima County Sheriff's Department was contacted to investigate the shooting incident, Sheriff Mark Napier told, but then "the FBI decided to take it." The FBI often investigates serious incidents that take place on reservations that involve people who are not Native Americans.

Hospital sources, who provided information on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, indicated that the man had bruises on his face, was in a coma Saturday night, and would possibly have to be intubated because of breathing complications. Despite officers shooting at him, he was not injured by any bullets. The man had no indications of severe head or neck injuries Saturday night.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

This original news reporting was partly supported by the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, which awarded Sentinel Editor Dylan Smith a Brechner Reporting Fellowship to pursue in-depth journalism about government secrecy.

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