Report: Vail shooting suspect threatened to kill bar patrons in ’02
VAIL – Murder suspect Richard “Rossi” Moreau threatened to kill patrons at La Cantina in Vail in 2002, according to a witness in a police report from the incident.
That report was among about 200 pages of Moreau’s criminal justice records released Wednesday by Vail Police.
Moreau is suspected of first-degree murder in a Nov. 7 shooting at the Sandbar bar and restaurant in Vail. One man, Gary Bruce Kitching, a Carbondale physician, died and three others were wounded.
In the 2002 La Cantina incident, Moreau ordered chicken enchiladas and a Mexican martini and then began staring at a group of four, middle-aged white males sitting at nearby table, the waiter told police, according to the report. The waiter heard Moreau yell to the group, “You’re terrorists” and “I’m gonna kill you terrorists,” the waiter told police.
Moreau was asked to leave the bar and restaurant, but said he couldn’t because the men were “going to jump me,” the waiter said, according to the report.
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The waiter convinced Moreau to leave, escorting him to the transportation center upstairs, according to the report. When the waiter returned to the restaurant, he was told by one of the men in the group of four patrons that Moreau had said, “I’m gonna kill you. I have a .45 in my bag,” the waiter told police.
Police found Moreau on a West Vail Red bus shortly after the incident occurred. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Police found no guns in his possession at the time of his arrest, the report said.
A test given after Moreau was taken into custody measured his blood alcohol content at 0.258 percent, records show. Moreau pleaded no contest to the charge, records show.
In 1995, Moreau was arrested after police said he was carrying a concealed gun at Garfinkel’s bar and restaurant in Lionshead.
Moreau approached an off-duty Garfinkel’s employee and told him he looked like a police officer, the police report said. The employee said he went along with the accusation, and then Moreau put his hands behind his back and “told (the employee) not to do anything stupid,” the police report said.
The man told police he then realized that Moreau had a gun concealed on his back, according to the report.
“(The employee) told him he was not a cop, and at that time Moreau said that was alright, everything was cool,” according to the police report. “Moreau then walked off.”
Police found Moreau near the pool tables, and he admitted to having a gun on the small of his back, the report says. He was arrested.
Moreau told police that he once had a permit to carry a concealed weapon from another state but didn’t have one in Colorado, the report says.
Moreau was asked by police why he was carrying the weapon, the report shows.
“He said that he had some problems with some individuals in Avon, and he felt it was necessary to carry the gun to protect him and his girlfriend,” Moreau told police, according to records.
Moreau told police that he always carries a handgun and been carrying one since 1969, when he was discharged from military service, he said, according to the report.
“I told Moreau that it is not necessary for him to carry a handgun, but he interrupted, saying that it was his constitutional right to have a firearm and to protect himself,” the Vail officer wrote in the report. “Moreau said that it was principle and that he would most likely continue to carry a firearm.”
Records show Moreau pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon in the case.
In September 1998, police got a report of shots fired near the Hamlet condos in West Vail, records show.
“My initial suspicioun was to go in the direction of Unit No. 17, where I knew a male party who had been contacted previously in past years for brandishing and carrying a firearm. I knew this party to be ‘Rossi’ … ” wrote Officer Brad Baldwin of the Vail Police.
Moreau was found sitting on the steps of the building, holding a gun in his right hand, Baldwin wrote.
Moreau cursed at officers as he was being taken into custody, the report says.
A witness who heard the exchange told police “she had heard his voice on numerous other occasions screaming and yelling at all hours of the night. Usually this was around 2 or 3 in the morning.”
Baldwin wrote that, at the jail, he told Moreau that residents were frightened because of the gunshots.
“They didn’t have anything to be afraid of because I load the shells myself, and I don’t put as much gun powder in them,” Moreau said, according to the police report.
Moreau also said “he was a 100 percent disabled veteran and because of that, he had every right to carry a weapon and fire it whenever he wanted to,” Baldwin wrote.
Police said they later found five shell casings on a bridge over Gore Creek in Matterhorn.
Moreau called Baldwin a week after the incident and said he had fired rubber bullets, the report says. He also apologized, Baldwin wrote.
“Moreau stated that he was sorry, that he had just screwed up, and that his life was a mess,” Baldwin wrote.
Moreau was charged with reckless endangerment, prohibited use of a weapon and obstructing a peace officer.
He pleaded guilty to prohibited use of a weapon, and the other charges were dismissed. As part of his probation, he was not allowed to possess guns for one year. The sentence was issued in November 1998.
In November 1999, a bullet hole and a bullet were found in the bedroom wall of unit A1 of the Lion’s Mane complex in Vail, police say. The bullet came from unit A2, which was being leased by Moreau, according to the report.
Moreau later told police that he didn’t have anything to do with the discharge of the gun, the report shows. Moreau said an old friend named Don Gore was visiting him on Nov. 10, and that Gore admitted to him that he accidentally fired the gun into the adjacent apartment, police say. Moreau said he had left the apartment for a short while to go to Safeway, and when he returned, Gore was acting “edgy,” the report says. Moreau said Gore was hitchhiking through the area, records show.
Police said they had trouble getting in touch with Gore and deemed the story suspicious, the report shows.
A neighbor told police that she saw four guns in Moreau’s home in September 1999, and that Moreau “told her that he was under a court order, and he was not to be in possession of those weapons,” the police report says.
Police said they found thousands of rounds of ammunition at Moreau’s apartment, but no guns. Two of Moreau’s guns were turned over to police by his friend Darlene Hoffman, records show.
Partly based the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s analysis of Moreau’s guns and ammunition, police pursued charges against him, the police report says.
Moreau was charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, a felony, and criminal mischief. He pleaded guilty to both charges in 2001. As part of a deferred sentence on the felony charge, he was not permitted to have guns for four years.
In 2006, Vail Police received a letter from an Aurora man who said he had been driving on Interstate 70 when a man in a red Subaru cut him off and ran another car off the road.
“Then continues on to flip me off and begins taunting me to follow him as he is exiting the west exit to Vail,” the Aurora man wrote.
The license plate showed the car was registered to Moreau, who admitted to the incident, according to the police report.
“He took full blame, stating that he ‘cut him off’ and that he was ‘really mad’ due to his pet’s death,” the report states. “Mr. Moreau was very cooperative and came right in to receive his ticket.”
In the Sandbar homicide case, Moreau is next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 1. Prosecutors have until Monday to formally file charges in the case.
Police say Moreau used a semi-automatic .45-caliber handgun in the Nov. 7 shooting. A witness told police that Moreau pulled a gun from his waistband and began firing after being escorted out of the bar, according to a police affidavit filed in the case.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or email@example.com.