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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Dead in Nevada Casino Shootings

LAUGHLIN, Nevada -- Rival American motorcycle gangs armed with guns and knives clashed on a crowded Nevada casino floor early Saturday, leaving three dead and at least 16 wounded as terrified gamblers ducked for cover.

It was the worst shooting ever inside a Nevada casino.

Denise Massey, 48, was gambling with her fianc? on the first floor of Harrah's at Laughlin, about 128 kilometers southeast Las Vegas, when she noticed 20 to 30 bikers suddenly converge.

"Next thing you know you just hear 'Bam, bam, bam,'" she said. "All of a sudden they're running and just shooting at each other."

Nevada police said the violence erupted when a member of the Mongol motorcycle gang walked into a group of Hells Angels. Sixty to 70 people, armed with guns and knives, were involved in the violence inside the entrance to Harrah's casino, authorities said.

All three of the dead were bikers, police said. Numerous people were arrested and police recovered a handgun. About 200 people were being interviewed, said Lieutenant Vince Cannito, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which patrols the Colorado River gambling resort. SWAT teams and law enforcement officers from across Arizona and Nevada were called in.

The shooting occurred during the 20th annual River Run, a weekend gathering of motorcycle clubs that brought up to 80,000 people into Laughlin.

The resort town of about 8,000 residents has nine casinos and attracts about 5 million visitors a year. Harrah's is the farthest south of a string of casinos in Laughlin that line the west bank of the Colorado River.

Authorities locked down the city after the violence erupted shortly after 2 a.m., temporarily closing bridges over the river. The routes were reopened later in the morning.

Aniko Kegyulics was sitting at a casino bar with her boyfriend when she heard yelling and gunfire.

"There were so many gunshots everything turned gray. Everybody fell to the floor. It was crazy," she said.

"Every year for this River Run, there's always threats of gang activity," said Larry Tunforss, spokesman for the Bullhead City, Arizona, Fire Department. "We have actually separated the shooters the best we can in the hospital because it is believed they are rival gangs."

Two of the wounded were identified as shooters, said Tunforss. They were hospitalized with critical wounds. One of the two alleged shooters suffered four gunshot wounds, he added.

(Reuters, AP)