1 Suspect Sought, 1 Arrested in Deadly Kansas Bar Shooting

October 8, 2019 Updated: October 8, 2019

One of two men accused of opening fire inside a Kansas bar, killing four people and wounding five others, is now in custody, while the other remains at large, police said.

Javier Alatorre, 23, and Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, were each charged with four counts of first-degree murder, police in Kansas City, Kansas, said in an early Oct. 7 release. Alatorre was arrested on Oct. 6 in Kansas City, Missouri, but the next day, police were still looking for Villanueva-Morales, who is considered armed and dangerous. Bail for each was set at $1 million.

Surveillance video shows Villanueva-Morales entering the Tequila KC bar, where he got into an argument and was told to leave late on Oct. 5, police spokesman Officer Thomas Tomasic said. It wasn’t clear whether Alatorre also was in the bar during the argument. Both men returned about two hours later and opened fire early Sunday, Tomasic said. Police wouldn’t release the video of the shooting.

Bartender Jose Valdez told The Kansas City Star that he had refused to serve one of the suspects 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.

Around 40 people were inside the small bar when gunfire erupted, Tomasic said. The gun shots sent people running for the exits, with the injured leaving trails of blood as they fled. Two of the wounded were treated and released and three others remained hospitalized in stable condition, he said.

Valdez said he thought the building was “going to cave in” and that three of the people killed were regulars whose parents also frequented the 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?”

Two of the dead were Mexican citizens, that country’s foreign relations secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, said on Twitter. He did not identify the two but said the Mexican government would support their families.

Alatorre was arrested without incident at a home that court records listed as his place of residence. Kansas City, Missouri, police, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives assisted in the arrest, Tomasic said.

Alatorre will have an initial court appearance in the coming days in Kansas, said Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Jonathan Carter. Alatorre doesn’t yet have an attorney. Carter said it’s too soon to determine whether prosecutors will consider the death penalty in the case.

Villanueva-Morales and Alatorre each faced criminal charges in Missouri, and Alatorre’s criminal record also included previous convictions, according to online court records in Missouri and online Department of Corrections records in Kansas.

Villanueva-Morales had a pending third-degree assault charge in Missouri. A detective wrote in the probable cause statement that after an unidentified man was ordered in August to leave a club “due to unruly behavior,” he returned with Villanueva-Morales, who started “yelling profanity.” An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was working in the area told Villanueva-Morales to leave.