Muckleshoot Casino murder suspect picked random victim according to court documents

AUBURN, Wash. — A 31-year-old suspect was looking to kill a man he knew but decided to kill a random man instead with a boxcutter at Muckleshoot Casino, according to court documents.


Ricky Fuentes, 31, of Lacey, appeared in court Monday after he’s accused of stabbing and killing an innocent man early Sunday morning.

On Sunday at about 1:33 a.m., detectives said they found a 29-year-old man bleeding from his neck on the ground inside the casino with a bloody boxcutter near him.

Liya Espinoza, said the victim was her boyfriend, Brandon Lawson.

She said Lawson called her after he was attacked.

“Basically, was his voice and a bunch of random noise and a bunch of random music, and I’m pretty sure he called me as it was happening. Because they told me he was talking as it was happening, ‘Please don’t worry about me. Please go get the guy,” Espinoza told KIRO 7 News after the court hearing.

Police said Fuentes told them he traveled on a bus to try and kill Jonathan Blake, a man he knew, at the casino.

But after searching for about three hours, Fuentes said he gave up and decided to look for another person to kill instead.

Fuentes said Lawson was “being a bully,” according to court documents, and stabbed him in the neck after he carried a boxcutter with him around.

Police were able to look at surveillance video from the casino.

There were no issues between the two people before the attack, investigators said.

Fuentes is facing a possible charge of first-degree murder.

His bail was set at $5 million.

Prosecutors said they’re anticipating an official charging decision by Wednesday.


KIRO 7 News spoke with Zackary Morris, of Everett, who said he experienced a similar attack at the same casino about two months ago.

On February 10, Morris said he and his friend were visiting the casino to have a great time when a man randomly attacked him with a knife.

It happened near Sunday’s attack, he said.

“It was on the casino floor, very near the incident that just happened this past weekend,” said Morris. “It was wild. I didn’t expect it.”

“There are so much security precautions walking in, metal detectors, if you have a purse or backpack, they usually search it, so I wasn’t really expecting that to happen somewhere like that,” he added.

Thankfully, Morris was not hurt.

He said police were able to arrest the suspect, but security did not respond urgently.

“I was pretty scared for my life in that moment. I don’t know what this guy is capable of,” he said. “I just feel like security wasn’t too much of a help at all.”

“I don’t feel like they responded right away because it got to the point where the suspect actually was walking back towards me,” he added.

We asked Morris about the security protocols at the casino.

“I’ve seen women walk in with very large purses, and they don’t really look through those as much,” he answered. “I was questioning my safety at that point because if this guy already has gotten through all these security protocols that they supposedly have, then what else could be out there now. Now I don’t feel safe.”


KIRO 7 News reached out to the casino to get more details about their security measures.

We’re still waiting to hear back.

We spoke with Nathan Bussa, who said he worked in security for Muckleshoot Casino for more than a decade.

He shared a statement on the casino’s security protocols.

“I was there from 2007-2023 in security for sixteen years, fifteen of those years I trained security officers. Metal detectors were added in the last year, but they are set to scan certain sizes and usually didn’t pick up everything. There is also a backup wanding station but officers tend not to really check. I have brought it to management’s attention and they never follow up with the lack of standards or protocols. If they say they do, they aren’t telling the truth,” said Bussa.

Comments on this article