Embezzlement Suspect Pulls Gun, Threatens to Kill Himself in Atlantic City Casino

A suspect in a New York embezzlement case pulled a gun and threatened to kill himself in an Atlantic City casino office, sparking an 11-hour standoff that included him accidentally firing a shot before he surrendered Friday morning.

"He never made any demands or asked for anything. Eventually he got tired and just wore down," said Rick Santoro, director of risk management for Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns three casinos in Atlantic City.

The standoff took place in a room off the casino floor at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which continued to operate.

Police officers from Suffolk, N.Y., on Long Island, had been searching for the man and tracked him to the Taj Mahal, where they attempted to detain him Thursday night, Santoro said.

The man, William Serrano, 53, of Corum, N.Y., was "being sought for questioning in a Suffolk County, N.Y., embezzlement," Atlantic City Police Chief John J. Mooney said.

Serrano was escorted into the security office at the casino and at some point during questioning, pulled out a handgun. One or more police officers pushed him into a holding cell and locked the door, Santoro said.

The suspect repeatedly threatened to kill himself during the standoff, but did not threaten anyone else, Santoro said.

At one point, he accidentally fired his gun, but was not injured, Mooney said.

Hostage negotiators from the Atlantic City Police and state police eventually talked the man into surrendering. He was charged in Atlantic City with aggravated assault and weapons charges.

The incident was reminiscent of a November 2007 standoff in which a man claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest held police at bay for six hours in a casino shuttle bus just outside the Showboat Casino Hotel. That standoff also ended peacefully after authorities were able to persuade him to surrender, although it forced the shutdown of the casino overnight.