KANSAS CITY, Ks. — Authorities are searching for one of two men they say opened fire in a bar here early Sunday, killing four people and wounding five others in a shooting police believe stemmed from an earlier dispute. The other suspect was taken into custody late Sunday afternoon, police said.
Javier Alatorre was nabbed in Kansas City, Missouri with the help of that city’s police, the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Kansas City, Kansas police.
They said a manhunt continued for Hugo Villanueva-Morales, who should be considered armed and dangerous.
Both have been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Bond was set at $1,000,000 each.
Kansas City, Kansas police spokesperson Thomas Tomasic said the two had apparently gotten into some sort of disagreement with people inside Tequila KC Bar, left, then returned with handguns.
Police released surveillance photos of the two suspects Sunday afternoon.
“We think there was something that happened in the bar earlier probably,” Tomasic said. “Unfortunately, they left and decided to take it to another level, came back and started shooting” into the crowd.
Around 40 people were inside the small bar when gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m., Tomasic said.
The gunfire sent people running for the exits, with the wounded leaving trails of blood as they fled. One of them was trying to get a ride to the hospital when ambulances arrived.
“It’s a pretty small bar, so if you have two guys come in and start shooting, people are just running, running anywhere they can,” Tomasic said.
All four men who were killed were Hispanic, but Tomasic said authorities don’t think the shooting was racially motivated. The shooting happened in a neighborhood with a large Hispanic population.
Tomasic cautioned that police were still investigating exactly what happened. He said they were reviewing the surveillance video and interviewing witnesses while looking for the gunmen.
“Obviously being a bar at 1:30, stories vary a lot,” he said.
CBS Kansas City, Missouri affiliate KCTV said family and friends of the victims gathered outside the bar Sunday.
The station said three of the four who lost their lives regulars at Tequila KC.
One was about to be married, a second spent his last moments alive shielding friends from bullets and the third was a hardworking business owner and a father of two, KCTV reported.
Juan Ramirez, of Kansas City, Kansas, told The Kansas City Star that his 29-year-old nephew was among those killed. He said his nephew left behind a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. “I don’t wish this upon anybody,” Ramirez said.
Among the dead was one man in his late 50s, another in his mid-30s and two in their mid-20s, police said. Authorities did not immediately release their names.
Bartender Jose Valdez told the newspaper he’d refused to serve one of the suspects on Saturday night because the man had previously caused problems at the bar. Valdez said the man threw a cup at him and left, but returned later with another man shortly before closing time.
The gunfire created smoke inside the business, Valdez said, and he thought the building was “going to cave in.”
Customer Michael Barajas said he didn’t realize at first that the fast bangs he heard were gunshots. As he tried to determine who was shooting, Barajas said he felt a bullet hit his shoulder.
“I feel like I should have moved a little quicker but there was shock,” he said.
Valdez said three of the people killed were regulars whose parents also frequented the neighborhood bar.
“I don’t know what to make of it. A sad day for everybody who lost their lives and their families,” he said, choking up. “How can you go into a place full of people and just start shooting?”