One of the two men accused of opening fire inside a Kansas bar, killing four people and wounding five others, was arrested while the other remained 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, said in an early Monday release. Alatorre was arrested late Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, Missouri, but police were still looking for Villanueva-Morales, who is considered "armed and dangerous". Bail for each was set at US$1 million.

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

Bartender Jose Valdez told the Kansas City Star that he had 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.

Four people were shot dead inside a Kansas bar. Photo / Google Maps
Four people were shot dead inside a Kansas bar. Photo / Google Maps

Around 40 people were inside the small bar when gunfire erupted, Tomasic said. The gunfire 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 were in hospital in a stable condition, Tomasic 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 neighbourhood 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?"

Alatorre was arrested without incident at his home. He will have a first appearance in 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 had a pending third-degree assault charge in Missouri.

Alatorre, meanwhile, had past convictions for fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement in Kansas and for driving while intoxicated in Missouri. He also had pending charges in Missouri for tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and resisting or interfering with arrest, detention or stop.

Alatorre's mother, Teresa Minerva Alatorre, declined to comment when reached by phone.

All four men who were killed were Hispanic, but Tomasic had said authorities did not believe the shooting was racially motivated. The shooting happened in a neighbourhood with a large Hispanic population.


Among the dead was a 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.

However, Juan Ramirez, of Kansas City, Kansas, told the newspaper 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.