After several days of closure due to a tragic shooting incident, the Pickering Casino Resort is set to resume business on Thursday, October 12 at 10 a.m., as announced by Chuck Keeling, a representative from Great Canadian Entertainment.
The Casino had been sealed off since Thanksgiving Monday, October 9, when police responded to an emergency call at 5:05 a.m. The call reported shooting incidents inside the casino. Upon arrival, law enforcement discovered a security guard suffering from gunshot wounds.
Desperate lifesaving efforts failed and the guard was rapidly moved to hospital where he unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. The victim, later identified as 34-year-old Michael Ferdinand, happened to be on duty when the shooting occurred.
In their efforts to solve the case, investigators are currently searching for several men and women who were captured by video surveillance fleeing the scene immediately after the incident.
“We are heartbroken over this tragic sequence of events,” said Keeling. “Our compassion goes out to Michael’s loved ones during these extraordinarily challenging times, and we are in active communication with his family forwarding our condolences.”
Casino staff were provided paid leave to allow them to process their grief, rage, and any other emotions provoked by the tragic event. A vigil was held by Ferdinand’s coworkers in tribute to his memory. The bereavement event served as a reminder of the strength and unity ingrained in the Pickering community, as Keeling remarked.
The following day, staff were given the opportunity to visit the Pickering premises for counseling, to share their feelings with coworkers, or simply to take in the atmosphere without the usual rush of customers and tasks.
Police have yet to provide the public with an update regarding the ongoing investigation or the the potential culprits.
In a statement released on Oct. 10, John Henry, the Durham regional chair and CEO, extended his deepest sympathies to those affected. He lamented over the tragic loss of Michael Ferdinand on behalf of the Region of Durham residents, and wished for strength to the security guard’s family, friends, and colleagues at the Pickering Casino Resort.
Authorities have urged anyone who may have been present in the casino during the shooting or who may have critical information to step forward. Witnesses with cellphone recordings or dashcam footage are particularly requested to come forward and assist with the investigation.
In addition, inquiries about the incident can be made to Det. Peacocke of the Homicide Unit, and anonymous tips can be directed to Durham Regional Crime Stoppers, with the potential for tipsters to earn a $2,000 cash reward.