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Casino shooter, 54, dies in prison

Steven Zegrean got what he wanted in the end.

Death.

The 54-year-old convicted of shooting four people inside the New York-New York casino in 2007 was serving a 90-year prison sentence when he died April 29.

Howard Skolnik, director of the Nevada Department of Corrections, said Zegrean’s death appeared to be from natural causes. An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.

Skolnik said there was “no evidence of any trauma.”

Zegrean was serving his sentence at Ely State Prison. The autopsy was being performed by the Washoe County coroner’s office.

In July, a jury convicted Zegrean of more than 30 felonies, including multiple counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon.

Carrie Zeravica, one of Zegrean’s four victims, said Monday she has mixed feelings about his death.

“I’m glad that I’ll never have to fear seeing him again or worry about him being up for parole or getting out of prison,” the 26-year-old said.

But even with his death she won’t be able to block out his memory.

“He changed my life forever. He took my leg away from me. I still have to live with him no matter what because every time I look at my leg, that’s who I think of,” Zeravica said.

The Pittsburgh native was shot in the left leg by Zegrean. Her leg remains partially paralyzed, she said.

The injury ruined her dreams of being a dancer. She must wear a brace and has undergone several medical procedures because of the shooting.

Zeravica said doctors have told her it’s an injury that could worsen with time.

And she is still scared of loud noises and crowded places, said Zeravica, who received a letter Friday informing her of Zegrean’s death.

Deputy Public Defender Lynn Avants said at Zegrean’s October sentencing hearing that his client was suicidally depressed over losing his wife, house and job. Zegrean, who emigrated from Hungary more than 20 years ago, told investigators after the shooting that he had hoped he would be killed by police.

Wearing a trench coat on a hot July night in 2007, Zegrean entered the crowded casino with 249 rounds of ammunition, many of which were in magazines. He fired 17 shots from a 9 mm handgun onto the gaming floor from a balcony near the Nathan’s Hot Dog restaurant.

After the gun jammed, Zegrean was tackled by vacationing National Guardsman Justin Lampert and other tourists.

At his sentencing Zegrean apologized to the victims and asked for mercy. “I am sincerely sorry for my actions,” he said. “Have mercy on me.”

 

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