December 30, 2009 (Lakeside) – The County Coroner’s office has identified Raymundo Casillas, 43, Executive Director of the Barona Gaming Commission, as the victim who was shot and killed in his office yesterday. The gunman, Donnell Roberts, a former employee, killed himself after fatally wounding Casillas.
“This is a very difficult time for the Barona family and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of this unimaginable tragedy,” a press release issued today by the Barona Gaming Commission stated, adding that the Commission is “saddened” by the loss.
“While there are no words to describe how horrible this incident was, we want to express our deep gratitude to the Barona Security Department, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, Barona Tribal Enforcement and the Barona Fire Department for their quick response. “ Grief counseling is being provided to staff through Barona’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Casillas, a resident of La Mesa, had been the Executive Director of the Gaming Commission since December 2008. His responsibilities were to oversee the departments that ensure the casino is in compliance with federal, state and tribal laws, including the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and the tribal-state compact. His wife and children reside in Arizona, where he previously held a similar position.
Donnell Roberts resigned from his position as a compliance officer for the Gaming Commission in November. (Note: Barona has issued a statement correcting an earlier press release, which incorrectly stated that Roberts was fired.) Prior to joining the Gaming Commission, he was a security guard at the Barona Resort & Casino. A suicide note was reportedly found by authorities at his home in El Cajon.
An 18-year Marine Corps veteran, Roberts served in the Persian Gulf. According to an interview that the San Diego Union-Tribune conducted with his former wife, Maria Small in Wisconsin, Roberts’ father, a police officer, committed suicide when Roberts was ten years old and living in Maryland.
Small, who has custody of the couple’s 12-year-old daughter, said Roberts was filled with rage and was sometimes violent with her. “He was always angry,” Small said. “It was more of a sadness. He was never happy with anything — never.” She said Roberts has six other children with other mothers and that he declared bankruptcy in 2003 in part due to problems making child support payments.
When she spoke with him last on Christmas Day, he reportedly told her he had lost his job but had “something in the works.”
She also disclosed an eerily preminiscent warning of Roberts' violent tendencies, recalling that he once slashed the car tires of a former security company boss who had fired him. “He said he wanted to kill him,” Small recalled.