Crime

Lacey casino robbery suspect released from hospital, bail set at $250,000

A 27-year-old Olympia man suspected of attempting to rob the Hawks Prairie Casino on Nov. 26 was released from Providence St. Peter Hospital on Monday, and booked into the Thurston County jail.

He was taken to the hospital after people at the scene realized he wasn’t breathing. A casino employee who would speak only if he could remain anonymous told The Olympian Monday that he saw police use a stun gun on the suspect.

Curtis A. Zeller appeared before Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon on Tuesday, and the judge found probable cause for three potential charges: first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment. Dixon set bail at $250,000.

Court documents show that Zeller has three felony harassment charges, one fourth-degree assault charge, and one second-degree malicious mischief charge already pending in Thurston County Superior Court. Those allegations stem from a 2015 incident at Providence St. Peter Hospital, where Zeller was receiving mental health treatment at the time.

Court documents give the following account of the Nov. 26 incident at Hawks Prairie Casino:

An employee reported that he saw Zeller enter the casino wearing a black hooded sweatshirt. He pulled the hood tight so that only his eyes and nose were showing. The employee said Zeller pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. Zeller then asked the employee to give him all the money.

The employee said he tried to keep Zeller calm, and told Zeller that if he followed him, he would get the money. The employee tackled Zeller, but Zeller was able to climb on top of him. Zeller reportedly hit the employee several times.

Eventually, the employee was able to free himself, grab the gun and run into the main portion of the casino.

Zeller started to enter the casino again, and the employee threatened to shoot him. The employee said Zeller reached for another gun in his waistband and threatened to use it.

Zeller then ran toward a female employee and tackled her. The male employee and a customer were able to pull Zeller off of her. The female employee said that while Zeller was on her, he said something like, “Now I have one of you.”

When police interviewed the male employee, he had blood in his hair and on his face. He was covered in cuts and bruises.

Initial reports said the suspect’s gun was a Nerf gun, but police discovered that it was actually a pellet gun.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445, @Amelia_Oly

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