Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News

Actions

'He held a man at gunpoint': Man charged in Hollywood Casino robbery gets $1M bond

Birdseye.jpg
Large police presence at Hollywood Casino at Lawrenceburg
Posted at 8:58 PM, Mar 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 08:19:43-05

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — The man police say robbed the Hollywood Casino, causing a chaotic scene and lockdown, will be held on a $1 million bond, a judge determined on Tuesday.

Indiana State Police said Daniel Birdseye was arrested in the woods outside the casino Saturday night after 9 p.m. He was formally charged on Tuesday with kidnapping, robbery armed with a deadly weapon, criminal confinement, intimidation and battery on public safety officials, according to Dearborn County Prosecutor Lynn Deddens.

Deddens said no shots were fired during Birdseye's attempted robbery, but he held multiple casino employees at gunpoint during the course of events.

"This was a very dangerous and potentially deadly situation," said Deddens. "Birdseye brandished and pointed the gun at several Hollywood employees and threatened to shoot at least one of them. He held a man at gunpoint in order to help in his attempted escape."

Birdseye1

Officers were originally called to the casino around 8 p.m. on Saturday for a report of an armed robbery, prompting a massive police response. Deddens also said law enforcement later learned Birdseye had been at the casino gambling earlier in the day; he left for a time and returned at around 7:29 p.m.

When he returned, Deddens said he headed to the main cage/bank area of the casino, pulled up a gaiter to cover his mouth and nose, then followed a casino employee back to the bank area. Birdseye then cornered the employee and pulled out a gun, Deddens said.

A witness told WCPO 9 they saw Birdseye produce a gun and demand money, making it as far as the cage in the middle of the casino.

"There's a guy here right now trying to rob the place — Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg," one 911 caller said. "We're all on the ground ... we're all on the ground right now."

Picture2.jpg

Deddens said from there, Birdseye obtained money from the employee he'd cornered and jumped through the teller window into the bank area. Another employee tried to shut the door, but Birdseye kicked it open, Deddens said.

Once inside, he began grabbing money from the bank area and stuffing it into a shoulder sling bag, according to Deddens. He then grabbed another employee, demanding the employee lead him out of the casino.

"Here you have a guy with a fully loaded nine millimeter hand gun that he's pointing at employees, he's taking them hostage allegedly and demanding that this guy get him out of the casino through the employee entrance," said Deddens.

Chris Simon, a witness inside the casino, said he saw Birdseye grab a person to use as a hostage.

"One guy brandished a gun at the cage, got whatever he was gonna get, took off and I guess some security approached him and he grabbed somebody — he grabbed a hostage — and started running down the hallway," Simon said. "People were literally laying on the floors ducking under tables. It was pretty chaotic there for a couple of minutes."

Once Birdseye and the employee reached the exit of the casino, Deddens said the employee was released.

The casino was locked down for a time between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. while police searched for Birdseye.

Two witnesses who were leaving the casino told us that they heard a bunch of people screaming "there's a gun." Video from inside the casino showed fire alarms going off on the casino floor, with some people saying they were evacuated to the garage.

Witnesses we spoke to said an active shooter announcement was made in the casino, but no one reported hearing shots fired.

Another witness said by 9:15 p.m., things had gone back to normal inside the casino.

A person waiting in line to get into the casino said that as of 9:30 p.m., friends they were communicating with inside the casino said things were normal and that the band was "setting up" to play. That person said that the bartenders stopped serving drinks for a brief time, but that they resumed service shortly after the incident.

A woman we spoke to also said she was rushing to get into the casino to help her elderly father, who fell running in the chaos and was bleeding as a result. She says he is expected to be OK, but he is emotional about the whole ordeal.

Deddens said she's grateful no one was hurt in the alleged robbery, but added that many people who were there that night may be dealing with trauma.

"I did speak with a couple of the employees at the casino that were very traumatized," said Deddens. "One ended up leaving the casino, she left her employment — she loved her job there. But the fact that this even happened to her, she was extremely traumatized."

Not all of the charges Birdseye faces are from his alleged actions within the casino that night, however. Deddens' office said Birdseye waived his Miranda Rights while speaking with law enforcement, telling them he'd committed the robbery because he was desperate and in debt.

However, after he was taken to the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center, Deddens said he became combative with corrections officers, which led to the addition of one count of battery on public safety officials being added to his case.

Court records show Birdseye told investigators he'd lost money at the casino that day; court records also show Birdseye is also facing a lawsuit from a company claiming he owes them more than $5,700.

Watch Live:

WCPO 9 News at 11PM