LAS VEGAS (CN) – Comedian Kenneth “KD” Brown was shot to death protecting customers of Bally’s Hotel and Casino from an enraged gunman, his family claims in a lawsuit against the casino.
Brown’s mother, Norma Jean Sattiewhite, sued Bally’s Las Vegas and the owners of Drai’s After Hours on Tuesday, for not stopping Benjamin Frazier from threatening casino patrons and taking Brown’s life on Oct. 21, 2013.
In her complaint in Clark County Court, Sattiewhite claims the bar staff “knew or should have known that Frazier was under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or narcotics.” But the staff allowed Frazier to enter the nightclub without checking him for weapons, Sattiewhite says in the complaint.
She claims that Frazier paid the $30 cover charge to enter the nightclub and decided to leave soon after, but nightclub staff refused to refund the $30. Frazier argued with security, pulled a .38-caliber revolver and shot at the security staff before leaving the club, Sattiewhite says.
Around 5:45 a.m., according to the complaint, “Frazier entered the gaming floor … without restraint and began aiming the handgun at casino patrons. Upon seeing Frazier brandishing his handgun, Kenneth bravely rushed forward to obstruct the gunman.”
Brown, 40, was a standup comic from Los Angeles, performing in the lineup at the L.A. Comedy Club in Bally’s Casino that evening. Brown was leaving the comedy club after performing when he saw Frazier brandishing the pistol and pointing it at Bally’s patrons, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Brown tackled Frazier, who shot twice, striking Brown in the chest and neck, killing him.
Frazier, now 42, also wounded a security guard and manager, according to KVVU-TV in Las Vegas. The security guard was shot in the stomach. The manager as wounded in an arm.
Frazier’s criminal trial is scheduled for January 2015.
Sattiewhite says Brown was her only son and had just moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. She claims that Frazier had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in a Nevada nightclub in 1997 and pleaded guilty to battery at another Las Vegas casino in 2012.
While Frazier has a history of violence, Sattiewhite says, so does Las Vegas, and casino operators are aware of it. National Crime Index data rank Las Vegas among the most dangerous cities in the United States, and the Nevada Gaming and Control Board warns casinos about the potential for excessive alcohol and drug intake, weapons and violent crimes, according to the lawsuit. Sattiewhite says the Gaming and Control Board holds casinos responsible for activities that occur within their walls, including her son’s murder.
She claims that Bally’s and Drai’s After Hours have had other “episodes substantially similar” to what happened to her son and “had knowledge that these dangerous activities would continue to occur at their properties yet failed to take reasonable and timely measures to … prevent further incidents from occurring.”
Although Bally’s and Drai’s ban firearms on their property, Sattiewhite says neither used metal detectors or enforced the policy. She also blames defendants for not securing Frazier after he displayed his firearm.
She seeks punitive damages for negligence, negligent hiring, training and supervision, wrongful death and nuisance.
Named as defendants are Drai’s Management Group, Drai Enterprises and Parball Corp. dba Bally’s Las Vegas.
Sattiewhite is represented by Joseph A. Gutierrez, with Maier, Gutierrez and Ayon.
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