ATLANTIC CITY - A regular casino visitor, having allegedly just shot and mortally wounded a worker at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, planned to kill himself in a parking garage but was stopped by police, a casino executive said yesterday.
Mark Juliano, chief executive officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which runs the casino, said yesterday that the suspected shooter had no previous argument with supervisor Raymond Kot, 57, who had been with the Taj Mahal since it opened in 1990.
Juliano told the Associated Press that Mark Magee of Norristown was carrying a suicide note and had intended to shoot himself or jump from the parking garage Wednesday afternoon but surrendered meekly when police apprehended him.
"It's too bad he didn't do it first," Juliano said. "He was obviously an extremely disturbed, sick individual."
Authorities did not reveal the contents of the note.
Juliano said Magee had been a patron of the Taj Mahal for several years and had interacted with Kot numerous times but never in a contentious way. He said the choice of Kot as a victim appeared random.
"It appears to have been something he contemplated doing, not particularly to Ray, but to a casino employee in general," Juliano said.
But why? Juliano is asking himself that question, along with many others. There were no initial indications Magee, 57, was in debt to the casino or had any bad experiences there, he added.
6ABC reported that Magee sent the TV station a letter dated Monday accusing Atlantic City casinos of cheating. The letter did not contain any threats or mention Kot, the station said, adding that it had contacted police and was cooperating in the investigation.
Juliano said it was ironic that Kot, who played the peacemaker countless times with rowdy or disruptive customers, died so violently, shot three or four times in the abdomen with bullets designed to inflict maximum damage.
"Ray Kot was one of the finest people you'll ever meet," he said. "He was always looking to be the peacemaker all the time."
Kot was shot in an office just off the casino floor. He died about 21/2 hours later at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center after undergoing surgery.
Court documents charged Magee with using hollow-point bullets, which are designed to inflict maximum damage and are illegal in New Jersey.
Magee, wearing jail clothes, made a brief initial appearance yesterday afternoon in Superior Court in Mays Landing. Looking slightly dazed, his gray hair tousled, he said he understood the murder and weapons charges against him. He asked for a public defender, saying he couldn't afford a lawyer.
A judge ordered him held on bail of more than $1 million.