Lower Burrell woman accused of firing shot on New Year’s Day in Rivers Casino parking garage
A Lower Burrell woman is accused of firing a bullet into the ninth-floor ceiling of the parking garage at Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh’s North Shore shortly after thousands of casino-goers rang in the new year, records show.
State police on Saturday charged Julie Ann Renaldi, 37, with discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, five counts of reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and carrying a firearm without a license, a criminal complaint filed in Pittsburgh Municipal Court shows.
Investigators accused Renaldi of firing the single gunshot after a night of drinking, gambling and arguing with her boyfriend, who was standing next to her in the garage when she pulled the trigger, the complaint said.
No one was injured.
Renaldi told police the gun was fired unintentionally amid a dispute with her boyfriend.
Investigators say they identified Renaldi using surveillance video, her driver’s license photo, license plate and casino player’s card data.
Investigators learned from security camera footage that Renaldi and her boyfriend had arrived at the casino in a black Kia SUV about 9:45 p.m. on Monday, New Year’s Eve.
The couple parked, entered the casino and at some point got into an argument and separated while inside, according to the criminal complaint.
About 2 a.m., Renaldi’s boyfriend returned to the car with another person. Renaldi arrived at the car with two other people about 2:05 a.m., the complaint said. The two people she was with kept walking as Renaldi approached the Kia, opened the driver’s side door and leaned in.
Renaldi’s boyfriend opened the car’s front passenger door and similarly leaned in, then they both stepped back from the vehicle, the complaint said.
At 2:06 a.m., amid vehicle traffic and pedestrians walking in the garage, surveillance footage captured “a flash and smoke” coming from what appeared to be a handgun discharged at an upward angle held by Renaldi as she stood inside the open driver’s side door, the complaint said. Her boyfriend stood next to the passenger door.
After the gunshot, video shows Renaldi and her boyfriend continuing to argue outside the car before Renaldi climbs into the front passenger seat, her boyfriend gets behind the wheel and they drive off, the complaint said.
The person who returned with Renaldi’s boyfriend went back into the casino, as did the two people accompanying Renaldi. All three told police they heard the shot, the complaint said.
Renaldi’s boyfriend later told investigators that he was attempting to gather his belongings from the vehicle and was removing his pistol from the glove box when Renaldi grabbed it from his hand and the gun discharged soon after.
Renaldi told police that she grabbed the gun from his hand while leaning into the vehicle and that “when she exited the vehicle the gun discharged,” the complaint said.
“The defendant did not know the gun was loaded and does not know how it went off,” the complaint said.
Renaldi “explained that she was intoxicated while this occurred,” police said.
They found a bullet fragment where Renaldi’s car was parked.
She was cited for an additional firearms charge because she does not have a valid concealed carry permit, the complaint said.
State police’s gambling enforcement unit assigned to Rivers Casino led the investigation.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, email@example.com or via Twitter .