Witness writes about West Vail shooting
VAIL, Colorado – As details emerge about the Nov. 7 shooting at the Sandbar in West Vail, so do details of the terror witnesses felt as they scrambled to save themselves and others.
From Gary Bruce Kitching, the Carbondale man who was killed while just trying to watch a football game, to Jim Lindley, the Vail man who remains in a Denver hospital – it seemed everyone was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Ian Sage, a 22-year-old who was in the Sandbar with his parents and sister, has been having a tough time since the incident, said his mother, Cindy Hamborsky. Sage’s father, Buck Hamborsky, was one of two witnesses who got Lindley out of the bar after he was shot. The family was in Vail, visiting from Pittsburgh, and was having dinner at the Sandbar. In an instant, havoc broke loose, Sage said in an e-mail describing the night.
Sage saw a lot that night, and his mother said it’s been hard on him ever since. Here’s Sage’s account in his own words:
Two consecutive shots rang out just outside the east entrance way at the Sandbar in West Vail. The first gunshot disabled the right arm of the bar manager as he and a few bar patrons had previously attempted to remove the obnoxious man from the bar’s premises.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
The second blast wounded a young man, in the upper left thigh. Instantly havoc broke loose. In unison, people began to scream in horror and run for their lives. So close to the action, I too was terrified that I may catch a stray bullet if the gunman began to fire once more. I dropped to the ground and used the wall behind me as some means of protection.
The gunman re-entered the establishment with his right pointer on the gun’s black trigger. He slowly passed the end of the barrel across my torso and fired twice more. The first shot hit Jim, a man less than one foot away from me, directly in the chest. The second of the two ricocheted off the cement nine inches from me and penetrated his left arm.
As the bullet bounced off the gray cement, I felt particle debris pepper my bare skin. He cried out “I’m hit, I’m hit.” There was nothing I could do. I quietly told him, “shut up,” so the wounded man would not draw attention to our location.
After firing a total of four shots, the gunman headed to the back of the establishment. Watching his every move, I quickly saw an opening to flee as the shooter fired two more shots in the opposite direction of which I was running. Upon reaching the safe haven of the parking lot, I called 911 and reported the emergency.
Running on pure adrenaline, I was in search of my family. Thoughts were running wild through my mind. Is everyone OK? Did we all make it out?
Meanwhile back in the Sandbar six more shots rang out after only about a 40-second pause. At the west entrance to the establishment I was able to see my dad and John exit, dragging a severely wounded man to safety. I yelled like I never did before. I repeated my dad’s name in horror hoping he would respond.
Finally he heard me. I frantically asked him where my family and everyone fled to; he responded they safely made it next door to the Holiday Inn. Relieved from the news, I too sought safety with them. My dad was not only able to pull a complete stranger out of a bar, but was able to carry him to safety and attempt to stop his bleeding with sheets brought over by another witness.
The aftermath of this incident will forever be remembered. One man was declared dead while three others were wounded. Jim tallied numerous gunshots and is in stable condition after acquiring 15 units of blood from the nearby hospital.
Vail resident Richard “Rossi” Moreau was arrested after the shooting and has been held in the Eagle County jail ever since. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said charges against Moreau will be filed Monday.
Prosecutors said previously that they are pursuing first-degree murder charges, but Hurlbert said Thursday that they have not finalized which charges they will file. Multiple charges are likely, Hurlbert said.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org