Police report sheds light on Vail shooting
November 13, 2009
VAIL, Colo. – Murder suspect Richard “Rossi” Moreau told police after he was apprehended Saturday after allegedly shooting four people at a West Vail bar that he believed he was headed either to jail for “a lot of time” or a mental institute, according to an affidavit filed by Vail police.
“He stated that he believed he was in a lot of trouble,” says the affidavit, submitted by Vail Police Detective Jessica Mayes. “He also said that the reason he thought he was in trouble was because he thought he killed someone.”
Moreau, 63, of Vail is suspected of first-degree murder in the shooting at the Sandbar in West Vail. One man, Gary Bruce Kitching, a semi-retired radiologist living in Carbondale, was killed, and three others were injured.
Moreau told police that he had recently changed medications, which had negatively affected his mood, the document says, adding that Moreau said he takes medication for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He told police that he takes Xanax and a medication to control nightmares, according to the affidavit.
He also said he had three drinks at the Sandbar and “half a bottle” of whiskey the day of the shooting, according to the document.
Police interviewed a man named Justin Center who said he had had an altercation with Moreau earlier in the night, and Moreau was later removed from the bar by staff, according to the affidavit. Center said he then went out the west door to smoke a cigarette and saw Moreau running from the east side of the building, the document says.
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Center said he saw Moreau pull a handgun from his waistband, raise the gun and fire shots at him, the affidavit states. Center fled and was shot in the thigh, according to the police document.
Moreau re-entered the bar and shot the final two victims of the shootings, Kitching and 63-year-old Vail resident Jim Lindley, police say. Kitching and Lindley were both shot multiple times, authorities said.
Lindley’s condition was described as critical but stable in a Denver hospital Thursday. He is the only shooting victim who remains hospitalized.
Witnesses say the other victim, a 29-year-old Sandbar employee, was the first person shot and was shot as Moreau was being escorted out of the bar. Authorities believe Moreau fired between 10 and 13 shots.
Police found Moreau’s blue Dodge Durango parked in a handicapped space in front of the Sandbar, according to the affidavit.
Judge Katharine T. Sullivan ruled Monday that urine, blood, hair and DNA evidence can be taken from Moreau to determine what drugs were in his system, documents show.
Prosecutors have subpoenaed Moreau’s military records from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, filings show. In 2006, Moreau told the Vail Daily he served two tours of duty in Vietnam, in 1968 and 1969, was an Army Ranger and watched a friend die in his arms during combat. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder emerged in 1979, Moreau said.
But Moreau’s military claims have been put into question. Mary Schantag, a researcher with the POW Network, a group that researches military records of veterans, said the group’s database shows Moreau was a radio teletype operator who served about 48 months in the Army and was discharged as a corporal. She said she doubted a radio teletype operator would hold a dying friend during combat. The database does not show Moreau had Army Ranger training, Schantag also said.
In another filing, public defender Dana Christiansen submitted a motion Monday seeking to limit pretrial publicity, records show.
Prosecutors are pursuing first-degree murder charges in the case. They have until Nov. 23 to file charges, and Moreau’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1.
Reed Owens, the public defender who represented Moreau at a hearing Monday, did not return a phone call Thursday.