This time it was player-on-player violence … leaving one man dead and another injured after a gunfight broke out early morning at a warehouse poker game in Anderson County, SC.
Jermaine LeCorey Scott, 34, supposedly was losing in the wee hours of a game last week, and at some point pulled a gun on five other players. Though not clear whether or not the triggering incident had anything to do with a bad beat or involved accusations of cheating, police contend Scott was attempting to rob his opponents … even though he was not wearing a mask like most (99 percent?) armed poker robbers.
called flagged down police at a nearby intersection around 7 am on Tuesday to report the shooting, and deputies arrived to find two men shot, lying on the ground in the empty warehouse, which may or may not have been cleared of poker supplies before their arrival. Scott died at the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds a few hours later. The other player, unnamed, had bullet wounds to his hand and a concealed weapon permit. Police investigators have ruled the deadly shooting a matter of self-defense — justifiable homicide — and say they have no plans to press any charges.
This fatal player-on-player shootout comes on the heels of poker-related violence in neighboring Greenville County, where an alleged underground poker-room operator shot at police officers believing he was being robbed — leaving one cop wounded and 72-year-old Aaron Awtry in jail facing charges ranging from unlawful gambling to attempted murder.
The South Carolina Supreme Court is currently considering a case out of Charleston County that questions whether or not certain poker rooms are even illegal, and could draw new lines between friendly real-money home games and illegal for-profit gambling operations. The Poker Players Alliance provided legal assistance in this case, in which attorneys representing poker player interests argued before the high court, which should return with a decision next year.
Legislators in South Carolina have been pushing measures to revise the state’s gambling laws — with proponents looking for laws that would allow more poker in safer environments, and opponents saying no, that would be bad. A Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the issue just last week — the same day as the fatal shooting — where groups such as the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women found themselves on the same side as poker players seeking more permissive gaming laws. Opposition came from the Southern Baptist Association of South Carolina, which argues charitable bingo and church raffles present a moral slippery slope leading to numerous social ills.
The Senate committee plans to have a new gaming bill drafted before the end of this month, and a separate bill for church raffles, both of which are finding widespread public support.
We could find no information available about funeral services for Jermaine Scott, nor anything indicating whether he was a good guy or bad guy, other than authorities’ contention that his death by gunfire was justifiable.
Though still doing a little fact-check on this … I’m fairly certain that 2010 has been the most violent and deadly year of poker in recent memory, if not recorded history.