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Security guard shot in game room shares his take on Nueces County gamerooms proposal

Russ Wagner.jpg
Posted at 3:42 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 23:37:01-04

A security guard who was shot in the stomach inside a gameroom two years ago says the regulations Nueces county is proposing will not help.

On Wednesday, Nueces County commissioners will hold a public meeting to get the community's input on their proposed regulations on gamerooms. One of those regulations includes restricting gamerooms from being open between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. in order to reduce crime in and around gamerooms in Nueces county.

On February 11, 2020, Ross Wagner was working at the Buena Suerte gameroom on Everhart Road when two armed men walking in and demanded cash.

Wagner said there were about 20 people in the game room.

"My whole focus was to get them out of here and nobody got hurt," he said.

Ross in hospital.jpg
In 2020, Ross Wagner was working at a local game room when he was shot and then hospitalized.

He immediately confronted the pair when the 15-year-old gunman shot him.

"It hit me here in the stomach," Wagner said. "I have a burn mark on the inside of my hip here and it came back and was lodged in my behind. They (doctors) were waiting for the bullet to work its way out."

The U.S. Marines veteran was hospitalized for a week and was out of work for a month-and-a-half. The veteran said the hard part was having his wife, who takes care of their son with special needs full-time, also take care of him.

"She's awesome," he said. "My wife is one of the greatest people I've ever met — ever known. She would bend over backwards to make sure I was taken care of. She helped me on my crutches and made sure I had plenty of room to sit down and all that."

Going back to work was pretty emotional for Wagner, he said. His wife and mother were not happy he was working as a security guard, even though this time he was working for area retailers and grocery stores, and not gamerooms.

"I was much more aware of my surroundings," Wagner said.

It didn't take long before a gameroom asked for help. The security company he worked for offered him a job to work at a gameroom, but he turned them down.

Ross Wagner with his wife and son.

Wagner choked up when he explained why he denied the offer.

"I'm afraid it will happen twice," Wagner said.

"In my personal opinion, it's the right idea because most crimes happen between those hours," he said when asked about Nueces county's plans to restrict game rooms from remaining open from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. "Do I think it's going to work? Honestly, I don't think so."

He said the temptation is too great for criminals who see an opportunity for fast cash.

"I'm living proof that there's a lot of money in these places," he said. "Yeah, they have cages and alarms and all that, but there's a lot of money in these places. If you're sitting there, and you go there to cash it out and you got $2,000 or $3,000 sitting there or someone just saw that you won all that money. The opportunity for you to take it at gunpoint is there."