LAS VEGAS – A disgruntled casino employee accused of shooting two executives at a company picnic in Las Vegas planned an escape and spent days on the run before a sheriff's deputy happened upon him sleeping in a car Thursday near a small Texas Panhandle town, authorities said.
A deputy on routine patrol checked the license plate of a car parked at a highway rest stop not far from the New Mexico state line and found it was stolen from Utah. When confronted by Oldham County deputies, Anthony J. Wrobel initially reached for a 9mm handgun but then surrendered without incident, authorities said.
Police did not provide details about Wrobel's issues at work and were trying to find out where he was going. But officials said police found a note at the casino dealer's home "that talked about his displeasure with The Venetian and management at the corporation."
"This awful crime occurred because of a disgruntled employee who decided to take out his anger by using violence," Las Vegas police Capt. Robert Plummer told reporters.
Authorities say Wrobel, 42, planned Sunday's attack, leaving a second getaway vehicle in a parking structure at the busy Las Vegas airport three days before shooting the executives at close range while they sat at a table at a nearby park, Plummer said. Mia Banks was killed, and Hector Rodriguez was critically wounded.
Wrobel fled in his distinctive black and purple Dodge Charger, which police quickly found parked at the airport. He drove in the second car north some 170 miles (275 kilometers) to Cedar City, Utah, where he stole a Utah license plate from another vehicle, according to a brief chronology that Plummer provided.
He was arrested hundreds of miles away in Texas, where deputies found two high-capacity magazines in his vehicle. Police said they don't believe he had help in his escape.
Wrobel was being held in Texas pending his transfer to Nevada to face charges of murder, attempted murder and armed battery. He also was named in a federal complaint Tuesday as a fugitive from justice.
Investigators have said they believe the victims were targeted but have not said why.
Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian, said Banks was vice president of casino operations and Rodriguez was executive director of table games. Both worked at the resort since it opened in 1999.
Wrobel, who worked at the casino for 14 years, has been fired, Sands spokesman Ron Reese said.
The company had offered a $50,000 reward for information about Wrobel's whereabouts and will now donate the money to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Reese said.
Associated Press writer David Warren in Dallas contributed to this report.