One week after he had angrily barged into a small neighborhood bar, seething and belligerent, the man returned, cursing and shouting about gangs. He threw a plastic cup at a bartender who refused to serve him, witnesses said, and fought with a customer before he was escorted out, just as he had been the week before.
But two hours later, in the pre-dawn darkness of Sunday morning, he and another man stormed back in and opened fire on the crowd, the authorities and witnesses said, killing four people, wounding five others and shattering the sense of safety this tight-knit Latino community felt inside Tequila KC, a bar that for many served as an extension of their living rooms.
Both gunmen left the scene before the police arrived, and no arrests were made Sunday in connection with the attack, which occurred shortly before 1:30 a.m. and sent dozens of panicked patrons into the street.
Hours later, traces of blood remained on the sidewalk.
“This is a community bar,” said Jose Valdez, 39, who was working as a bartender when the shots began. “Here, everybody knows everybody.”
An armed guard is typically stationed at the front entrance, Mr. Valdez said, but he was not there on Saturday night.
On Sunday evening, the police released images taken from the bar’s surveillance video that showed two men wearing baseball jerseys — one of them from the hometown Kansas City Royals — and asked for help in identifying them.
All of the victims were Latino men, said the police spokesman, Thomas Tomasic. Two were in their 20s, one was in his 30s and the other was in his 50s, he said, adding that the authorities did not believe the attack was racially motivated.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an arm of the Justice Department, said agents in Kansas City also responded to the attack.
Sunday’s killings were the latest in a series of mass shootings that have unfolded across the country with numbing frequency. Through August, at least 38 shootings with three or more fatalities had been recorded in the United States, data shows. Each deadly episode has brought cries for stricter gun-control laws.
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SOURCE: The New York Times, John Eligon