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Yreka casino temporarily closed after armed threat

A casino in Yreka, California, will be closed until Tuesday following an incident over the weekend involved threats of violence with a shotgun. No injuries were reported.

Billy Joseph Sonntag, 33, was in the Siskiyou County Jail Monday on charges of robbery, burglary, kidnapping and carrying a loaded firearm accusing him of entering Rain Rock Casino with a shotgun, according to a press release from the casino and a Yreka police Facebook post.

Yreka police were called to the scene at 11:08 a.m. Saturday following multiple calls of an armed man carrying a silver box near the front entrance of the casino. Sonntag allegedly left the box at the front entrance and contacted security.

While the casino manager met with Sonntag out front and accompanied the armed man to the casino’s security office, casino staff quickly evacuated people off the casino floor.

Two Yreka officers found Sonntag at the security office, and convinced him to drop the weapon. He was handcuffed and taken into custody without further incident.

Sonntag’s silver box prompted Yreka police to call out the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Special Response and Explosive Ordinance Demolition teams, along with California Highway Patrol resources to aid in evacuating the casino.

Explosives specialists determined that the silver box contained only papers.

The Karuk Tribe, which operates Rain Rock Casino, expressed gratitude to law enforcement “for their quick response that resulted in what can only be described as the best possible outcome.”

The casino stated that its team undergoes annual training for armed situations, “and when the time came to act, they recalled their training and performed far beyond expectation.”

The casino will be closed until 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 15. Crisis counselors will be contacting each staff member to ensure their well-being after the incident.