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Man survives raging fire and Billings casino shooting

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Posted at 10:23 AM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-06 12:25:12-05

BILLINGS - After two people were shot inside the Treasure Cove Casino, the business remains closed.

And one of the two victims is having a hellish week as the sober living facility he lived in caught fire and was destroyed last Friday.

“All the people lived through the house fire and now we have another miracle,” said Kacy Keith, the founder of Sober Beginnings, which burned down early Friday morning.

This week has been unlike any she has ever experienced, she said.

All 13 of her sober living clients escaped a house fire early Friday unharmed.

They’re now residing at the SureStay, where Keith is the manager, and the worst had yet to come for one resident named Joel.

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“We first got the call and they said that Joel had been shot in the head outside the hotel,” said Keith.

Joel was just one of two victims of Sunday night’s double shooting at the Treasure Cove Casino on South 32nd Street West.

He told her he happened to walk into the casino as an armed man in a ski mask was attempting to rob it.

“The attendant that was there had just gotten shot, and as the fella that was going out the door that shot him, reached back and then he got our person,” Keith said.

Joel was shot in the neck but managed to walk from the casino to the SureStay.

“It shot right through his neck on one side, clean shot, out the other side, from here to here. And missed his spine by under an inch, probably about half an inch,” said Keith.

As for the casino employee, he’s also okay.

“Everybody’s okay, everybody’s good,” said co-worker Amber Wheeler, adding “It’s scary for everybody but the victims are who we are worried about."

She said employees in the industry are always prepared for situations like this.

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“With what we do comes with a risk for the money and tips we make,” said Wheeler.

As for that customer named Joel, he may not have dodged a bullet, but he will survive.

“They said he was going to be fine, and they put a Band-Aid on both sides and sent him back to us,” Keith said.

And Keith, Joel, and other residents of Sober Beginnings are now once again focused not on the shooting, but on finding a new place to live.

“They’re all rallying, like, we’re sticking this out. We’ve been through this much stuff. Now we have no choice but to stick it out,” said Keith.

Keith said Sober Beginnings is still in desperate need of monetary donations or even home-cooked meals for the 13 displaced residents who now have to start their lives over.

You can donate to Sober Beginnings here and you can reach Kacy Keith at keithkacy1@gmail.com.