Javier Alatorre and Hugo Villanueva-Morales are the suspects in the Tequila KC bar shooting that left four people dead in the early hours of October 6, local authorities have said. The bar is located on 10th and Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.
Police said that nine people were shot in total after Alatorre, 23, and Villanueva-Morales, 29, entered the members-only bar and started shooting around 1:30 a.m. local time.
Alatorre was taken into custody Sunday night, but police are still searching for Villanueva-Morales. Kansas City Police Chief Michael York said in a press conference on October 7, that he is considered armed and dangerous.
Kansas City Police spokesman Thomas Tomasic said of the crime scene, “Inside we located four Hispanic males inside the bar deceased. Outside the bar, we had five other victims that all sustained gunshot wounds. They were all taken to area hospitals, all in stable condition.” Police released the names of the four deceased victims: Martin Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 58; Francisco Anaya-Garcia, 34; Alfredo Calderon, 29; and Ebar Meza-Aguirre, 29.
On Monday, Kansas City Police Chief Michael York said, “The investigation is leading us to believe that is was not random. They returned and they did what they did.” Both Alatorre and Villanueva-Morales have been charged with four counts of murder in the first degree and their bonds have been set at $1 million each, the release said.
Here’s what you need to know about Javier Alatorre and Hugo Villanueva-Morales:
1. Javier Alatorre Was Last Released From Prison in September 2019
Alatorre was arrested without incident near the 2600 block of Quincy Street in Kansas City, less than 10 miles from the scene of the shooting. The suspect is being held in Jackson County jail and as of Monday, did not yet have an attorney. Alatorre is set for an extradition hearing at 11 a.m. on October 8. Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Jonathan Carter said it’s too soon to determine whether prosecutors will consider the death penalty in the case.
The 23-year-old suspect was recently released from jail in Missouri, where he faced three pending charges in Jackson County for tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and resisting or interfering with an arrest. As reported by the Kansas City Star, Alatorre sought to get his bond reduced last month, so he could get out of jail, but the prosecutor objected.
In a court filing, the prosecutor argued, “The defendant has repeatedly shown this Court that if released there is no guarantee that he will appear for his next scheduled hearing… The defendant has shown by his actions that he poses a significant risk to the community. During either of the car chases, innocent bystanders could have been hurt and/or killed due to the defendant’s reckless behavior.”
Despite the objections, the judge granted Alatorre’s request, set his bond at $3,500, and released him on his own recognizance. Back in 2017, a court order banned Alatorre from possessing a firearm after a woman with whom he had a child reported physical abuse and threats. The ban expired in February 2018.
2. Villanueva-Morales Was Accused of Punching an Off-Duty Cop in a Nightclub in August 2019
Villanueva-Morales, who has evaded arrest thus far, also has a lengthy criminal record. According to records from the Kansas Department of Corrections, after being convicted and serving six years for attempted robbery, he was released from prison in March 2019.
On August 5, 2019, Villanueva-Morales was accused of punching an off-duty police officer in the face outside a Latin nightclub. He was arrested and was set to appear in court for hearing on October 28, for pending third-degree assault charges.
“We’re still looking at all of our leads; we’re receiving tips,” Kansas City Police Chief Michael York said in a Monday press conference, “Our federal partners are assisting us as well, so we hope to find him soon.” York urged anyone who sees the suspect to “stay away” and not confront him.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts was asked to call 911 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.
3. Tequila KC’s Security Guard Didn’t Show Up on Saturday Night
Jose Valdez, who has been a bartender at Tequila KC for eight years, told FOX 4 that he knows everyone who comes in and out, and when the suspect came in around 11 p.m., he asked him to leave. The suspect, who police identified via video surveillance as Villanueva-Morales, has been refused service before, too. “We try to keep people like that out of bar,” Valdez said. “Right then and there, he picked up a cup that was right there and threw it at me,” which is when Valdez kicked him out.
The idea of the man returning with a gun was unfathomable. “How can you go into a place full of people and start shooting?” Valdez said. “It’s sad.”
About 40 people were inside the bar when the suspected entered and started shooting with a small handgun or handguns based on the shell casings found at the scene.
As one of their most busiest evenings of the week, Tequila KC has a security guard come assist on Saturday nights. “He did not show up last night,” Valdez said. “He’s an armed security guard we have there every Saturday night.”
4. Motive for the Shooting Remains Unclear
Tomasic said they “do not have a specific motive yet, as far as them coming in targeting specific people or anything… Obviously being a bar at 1:30, stories varied a lot, even being inside the bar. So, we’re trying to separate out stories, find the truthful from the maybe exaggerated a little bit and kind of going from there.”
All the victims at Tequila KC bar were Hispanic, and two were Mexican citizens. Authorities do not believe Alatorre and Villanueva-Morales were racially motived as the incident took place in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood.
Chief Tomasic also said that the “gunmen are believed to have been involved in some sort of dispute with other patrons at the bar late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, left the bar and then returned with handguns.”
5. Alatorre’s Father Apologized to the Victims & Over 200 People Showed Up to the City Vigil to Mourn
Javier’s father, Hugo Alatorre told Action 41 News, “I’m sorry for the families. He’s my son, but there’s nothing I can do about it. He’s my son, but they make their own decisions.” His mother, Teresa Minerva Alatorre, did not speak to the media.
The night after the shooting, around 200 people showed up to the candlelight vigil outside the parking lot of Tequila KC bar, including friends and family members of the slain victims.
Celeste Trevino was talking and dancing with Meza-Aguirre when the shooting began. “He saved me. He did save me. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here right now,” she told CNN. “I just remember holding his face, and I’m pretty sure he still had my lipstick on his cheek when he died, because I remember kissing him on the cheek.”
Alfredo Calderon, who also died in the shooting, was Trevino’s brother-in-law. “He was a great dad. And a lot of people are going to miss him.” A Go Fund Me Page has been set up for the father of two.
While Anya-Garcia had been at Tequila KC with his fianceé, Jessica. Witnesses said that he died in her arms.