BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — He went to Golden West Casino in November 2017, but Keon Brackenridge didn’t play a single hand of blackjack or try his luck at poker. He didn’t even make it past the front door.
Brackenridge, after refusing to show ID, was told to leave. As security escorted the West Side Crips gang member off the property, he turned and pulled a gun, firing shots that struck and killed security guard Richard Iloilo, 25.
On Wednesday, Iloilo’s family spoke of him as a loyal, loving man who would travel any distance for a family reunion. His sister Lae Iloilo Lopati said he held the title of “best uncle” to her children, and she misses him every day.
In court for the sentencing of Brackenridge, convicted last month of murder and attempted murder, Lopati, speaking through tears, told her brother’s killer she hopes he experiences the same suffering she feels as he spends the rest of his life behind bars.
Ono Iloilo, another sister of Richard Iloilo, said she knew before the trial began what she would say to Brackenridge: “You coward that took our brother away from us.”
She thanked prosecutor John Allen for clearly presenting the evidence in the case, and the witnesses who testified.
Brackenridge, 35, was sentenced to 147 years to life in prison.
Brackenridge claimed he fired in self-defense Nov. 3, 2017, as security led him through the casino’s parking lot on South Union Avenue, but witnesses testified he wasn’t threatened and surveillance footage showed he pulled his gun and fired first. Three security guards returned fire, hitting Brackenridge in the forearm and thigh.
The only physical contact guards had with Brackenridge before the shooting was to place a hand on his shoulder and push him forward, investigators said in court documents.
Patrons ran for cover once the shooting began. More than two dozen rounds were fired.
A bullet passed through a casino window, shattering the glass partition of a table, according to the documents. An employee in the casino’s “champagne room” pulled guests behind a wall.
Charles Feer, who worked security at the casino that day, told the court he considered himself fortunate to have left before the bullets flew.
A number of questions have been on his mind since that day. One he brought up has likely arisen for anyone impacted by Iloilo’s death.
“Why didn’t you just walk away?” Feer asked.