04/15/2012 : TENNESSEE POKER RAIDS ENDS IN GUNFIRE
Caterer pulls a gun as twenty poker players are arrested
WRCB TV in Tennessee reports that a police raid on a commercial poker game at the ATC Healthcare Center in Chattanooga ended in gunfire Thursday night when a caterer working for the organisers pulled a gun and was wounded in return fire.
The television broadcaster reported that local police had been staking out and investigating the possibility of illegal gambling at the Center for two months prior to the raid after being tipped off by local sources.
A police spokesman confirmed that police investigator John Patterson, a member of the raiding party, had fired three rounds at a caterer named Clifford Billups (32) after Billups had pulled a gun. The caterer was wounded and taken to hospital, but not detained there.
He now faces several charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and felony reckless endangerment. His latest scrape with the law follows charges of aggravated statutory rape and assault, on which he is scheduled to appear before the courts on May 16.
Police allege that a least 20 people, several of them doctors, businessmen and lawyers, frequented the game, which on some nights saw over $100,000 cross the tables as games with buy-ins of up to $1,000 were arranged. The poker players will face misdemeanour charges.
Ironically, the Center is located on Gun Barrel Road.
A possibly explanation for Billups provocative action in aiming his gun at the police was afforded by one of those detained in the raid, 28-year-old Dale Roesel, who was charged with illegal gambling, but told reporters that he thought the operation was being robbed.
However, police sources said that Billups was actually trying to escape via the back door of the premises when the confrontation occurred.
Family and friends say that plain clothes police were involved in the raid and that few heard any warnings that they were enforcement officers.
Roesel said that the game had been robbed before, implying that it was a regular poker gambling enterprise.
Police Chief Bobby Dodd says there was no mistaking his officers in tactical raid vests with the word "police" on the front and back, and that the raiding party had verbally identified themselves as police as they rushed through the door.