Search Continues For One Suspect In Kansas City, Kansas, Bar Shooting That Left 4 Dead
Updated 7:25 p.m. Oct. 7 — One suspect remained at large Monday evening, while another was in custody, in the killing of four people and the wounding of five others in a shooting at a Kansas City, Kansas, bar over the weekend.
Police have identified the four men who were killed at Tequila KC as Martin Rodriguez-Gonzales, 58; Alfredo Calderon, 29; Ebar Meza-Aguirre, 29, and Francisco Anaya-Garcia, 34.
The killings happened about 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the bar. Police said they responded to a disturbance at Tequila KC just a few hours earlier.
Police say that two men — authorities identified them as Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, and Javier Alatorre, 23 — later returned with handguns and opened fire.
“It was hectic and chaotic, but it was not a random act,” Police Chief Mike York said. “It appeared they fired at specific individuals. As they left the scene, they continued to fire into the crowd.”
Alatorre was arrested Sunday after both men were charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Villanueva-Morales remained at large Monday evening. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous. They called for people with tips to call 911 or the TIPS hotline, 816-474-8477.
Both men have an extensive criminal histories. Just weeks before Sunday’s fatal shooting, court records show, a Jackson County judge released Alatorre from jail on his own recognizance despite warnings from prosecutors that he posed a “significant risk to the community.”
Alatorre faces felony criminal charges for possession of drugs, including Xanax and marijuana, tampering with a motor vehicle, fleeing from police and resisting arrest. He also was the subject of two protection orders filed against him in 2017 by a woman with whom he shared a child. The court found he posed a credible threat to the safety of the woman and child. Among the conditions, Alatorre was prohibited from possessing a firearm until the orders expired in February 2018.
Villanueva-Morales, who also goes by Javier Rodriguez, has a criminal history in both Kansas and Missouri, including an alleged assault against a Jackson County sheriff's deputy a few months ago.
According to a probable cause statement, sheriff's deputy Tony Uredi was working off-duty around 2 a.m. on August 5 when a man got into a fight with a security guard at a nightclub on Southwest Boulevard. That man left and returned with another man, later identified as Villanueva-Morales, who allegedly grabbed Uredi's uniform and punched him, then spit blood into Uredi's face on his way to the patrol car.
In 2008, Villanueva-Morales was sentenced in Kansas to 32 months in prison for aggravated burglary after he broke into an apartment, stole a car and injured the property owner.
In 2013, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for aggravated robbery. He was released two years early. But in 2018, was sentenced to three years of probation for trafficking and possessing a firearm while he was in prison.
York told reporters Monday that police were called to Tequila KC after one suspect was kicked out of the bar. He said officers had “no information indicating he was going to come back and do what he did.”
Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor David Alvey said the area along Central Avenue where the shooting occurred is a tight-knit community and a thriving area.
“From what I understand, these two individuals somehow had been identified before as problematic,” Alvey said. “I don't know what it takes, you know, to get kicked out of a bar and then come back shooting. But it certainly affects all of us deeply.”
Central Avenue Betterment Association Executive Director Edgar Galicia told KCUR he doesn't want the killings to discourage the local community, which, he said, has worked hard over the past decade to transform the Central Avenue corridor in the eastern Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood.
“We’ve gone through hardship, but our integrity and our beliefs stand,” Galicia said. “We can handle this. We don’t want to have to, but we can, and we are working all together.”
Galicia said a vigil and march set for Monday night was meant to maintain bonds in the community despite the weekend violence.
KCUR intern Avery Gott contributed to this report.