A shooting false alarm caused chaos at GSR late Monday. A Reno artist captured it on video

Siobhan McAndrew
Reno Gazette Journal
Reno artist Josh Vaile

Reno artist Josh Vaile approached lane 13 of the Grand Sierra Resort bowling alley and pointed his camera at the pins. 

“Here’s to your active shooter,” he said, releasing the ball with his other hand.

It was just minutes after seven police officers, one with an assault rifle, walked through the bowling alley on the east side of the Reno resort late Monday as Vaile live streamed the unfolding situation for an audience on the social media website, Twitch. 

One plainclothes officer told Vaile they were looking for an active shooter, a situation that ultimately proved to be a false alarm after multiple first responders raced to the casino around 10 p.m. Monday night.

The scene late Monday was tense, according to social media posts and Vaile's live stream video. Parts of the resort were locked down and guests and employees fled the casino floor.

Reno Police Chief Jason Soto said dozens of officers arrived on scene.

“Once we got on the scene, and we went through and unraveled, it sounds like it was a false report,” Soto told the RGJ. “So many things that get reported and employees are rushing out of the business, so we take their lead. It was a chaotic scene, but it was not a legitimate threat.”

But until that was known, Vaile guided viewers through the alley as fellow bowlers began talking about seeking out safety. 

At one point during the unfolding scene, an officer in tactical gear tells Vaile that there were unverified reports of gunshots being fired.

A screen shot of Reno artist Josh Vaile's livestream while police investigate reports, that were later said to be unfounded, of an active shooter at the Grand Sierra Resort.

“You guys are fine right here,” the unidentified officer can be heard telling Vaile and others in the bowling alley.

Vaile is a Reno artist and architect who has commissioned art pieces for the city of Reno and helped install pieces of other artists, including the Space Whale in downtown and the dragon fly at Virginia Lake  

Since April, Vaile has live streamed his life 24 hours a day on the social media site Twitch. Monday was no different as Vaile recorded celebrating his 48th birthday with a night of bowling with friend Scott Fraleigh.

“It was intense, and when I got up today and reports were that nothing happened, I was surprised because it felt like something was happening when we were there,” said Fraleigh who can be seen in parts of the livestream.

Here is a link to Vaile's live stream on Twitch. Reno Police are seen entering the bowling alley at the 7:15 mark. This video contains graphic language. 

Shortly after Vaile filmed the officers walk through the bowling alley, an employee got on a loudspeaker.

“Attention bowlers. We have a situation in the casino at the moment," the male employee said. "Everyone is required to stay here that is here. Good news is you get unlimited bowling."

Vaile and Fraleigh continued to bowl. They said they also received free beer.

“Hey, there’s an active shooter at GSR on my birthday,” Vaile says on the livestream “Let’s go bowl..."

In its brief statement Tuesday morning, the hotel-casino said it's working "alongside law enforcement to determine who falsely reported this incident." The Grand Sierra Resort has not returned a request for additional information.

Fraleigh and Vaile said they were allowed to leave around 11:30 p.m.  The bowling alley shut down early but they were given passes for a free return visit.   

“We walked through the casino floor and it was like nothing happened,” Fraleigh said. “People were sitting there gambling like always.”

Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal