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Suspects in Kansas City, Kan., mass shooting had criminal histories

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                This undated photo provided by the Kansas City Kansas Police Department shows Hugo Villanueva-Morales. Villanueva-Morales, one of the two men accused of opening fire inside a Kansas bar early Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, remains at large, while the other man Javier Alatorre, was arrested Sunday afternoon, police said.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This undated photo provided by the Kansas City Kansas Police Department shows Hugo Villanueva-Morales. Villanueva-Morales, one of the two men accused of opening fire inside a Kansas bar early Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, remains at large, while the other man Javier Alatorre, was arrested Sunday afternoon, police said.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. >> One suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting in Kansas City, Kan., had recently been released from jail over the objections of prosecutors. The other was recently arrested in a similar disturbance at a bar.

Both of the men suspected of carrying out the shooting that killed four people and injured five others early Sunday had pending criminal cases in Kansas City, Mo., where they had been released on bond.

Javier A. Alatorre, 23, and Hugo Villanueva-Morales, 29, have each been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

The shooting Sunday at Tequila KC, a bar near 10th Street and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kan., shook the neighborhood and left family members grieving.

Police identified the victims Monday as Everardo Meza, 29, Alfredo Calderon Jr, 29, Francisco Garcia Anaya, 34, and Martin Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 58.

Alatorre was arrested Sunday afternoon; Villanueva-Morales remained at large Monday.

Alatorre has three pending felony criminal cases in Jackson County related to drugs, fleeing from police and tampering with a motor vehicle. He also had served a brief stint in a Kansas prison for attempting to flee from police by driving recklessly.

Last month, Alatorre sought to get his bond reduced so that he could get out of jail. The prosecutor objected to his request, saying that Alatorre was a flight risk and danger to the community.

“The defendant has repeatedly shown this Court that if released there is no guarantee that he will appear for his next scheduled hearing,” the prosecutor argued in a court filing.

“Specifically, the defendant’s bond has been revoked on two separate occasions for failing to appear at scheduled Court hearings.”

The prosecutor said that in two out of the three cases, Alatorre resisted arrest by fleeing from police. In one case, Alatorre allegedly “drove at speeds in excess of 100 mph while refusing to adhere to traffic signals.”

“The defendant has shown by his actions that he poses a significant risk to the community,” the prosecutor argued. “During either of the car chases, innocent bystanders could have been hurt and/or killed due to the defendant’s reckless behavior.”

Prosecutors said Alatorre had committed new crimes while out on bond and that pending cases and bond conditions had no effect on the defendant’s actions.

Despite the objections, a judge granted Alatorre’s request and released him on his on own recognizance.

The judge set as conditions of Alatorre’s bond that he must submit to random drug testing, not drive unless he’s properly licensed and insured, have no contact with any law enforcement, contact pretrial services prior to leaving the state and appear at all court appearances.

In July, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered new rules regarding bond, requiring judges to first consider nonmonetary conditions of release and require money only if necessary.

If a monetary bond is set, it should not exceed what’s necessary to ensure safety or the defendant’s appearance, the new rules say.

Alatorre was being held Monday in the Jackson County jail. An extradition hearing is set for Tuesday to determine if he will be handed over to Wyandotte County officials.

Villanueva-Morales, the second suspect in the mass shooting, was arrested Aug. 5 by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in an incident that, like Sunday’s shooting, began with an unruly patron being thrown out of a bar.

According to the probable cause statement in that case, an unidentified man was kicked out of a club on Southwest Boulevard for “unruly behavior.”

An off-duty deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office who was working security noticed the man in a confrontation with the club’s security personnel.

The man eventually left, but returned a short time later with Villanueva-Morales, who was yelling profanities and acting aggressively, the court document said.

The deputy told Villanueva-Morales to leave multiple times. Villanueva-Morales allegedly balled up his fist and began moving into a striking position. An altercation between the two unfolded. The deputy eventually was able to take Villanueva-Morales into custody.

Both men were bleeding as a result of the struggle, and Villanueva-Morales allegedly spit blood into the face of the deputy and a witness.

He was charged with third-degree assault.

Court records indicate he posted a $25,000 bond the next day. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 28.

On Saturday, a bartender at Tequila KC said he refused to serve a man who had caused trouble at the bar before. The man responded by throwing a cup at him, Jose Valdez said.

It took four people to kick the man out, another witness said.

The patron left and then returned with another man, opening fire at the bar known as a community watering hole where people of all ages gathered.

The Kansas City, Kan., Police Department identified Alatorre and Villanueva-Morales as the two suspects in the mass shooting later Sunday.

Villanueva-Morales is considered armed and dangerous, police said.

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