1st-degree murder charge filed in Vail shooting case

Suspect in bar shooting also faces 2 attempted murder charges

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— Prosecutors filed a charge of first-degree murder Monday against Richard “Rossi” Mor­eau in the Nov. 7 shooting at the Sandbar in Vail.

“After reviewing all of the evidence, we felt that this was the charge that was best supported by it,” District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said.

Moreau, 63, of Vail, also faces seven other felony charges filed Monday: two counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault and two counts of menacing.

Hurlbert said he couldn’t discuss the specifics of why he thinks the evidence supports those charges.

“I can say it’s a very serious case, and we are taking it very seriously,” he said.

Gary Bruce Kitching, a Carbondale physician, was killed in the shooting after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison without parole or by death. Hurlbert said he has not decided which sentence he would seek in the case.

For the first-degree murder charge, prosecutors must show that Moreau killed Kitching “after deliberation,” Hurlbert said. That period of reflection and judgment “can be really short,” Hurlbert said.

Witnesses said staff members were escorting Moreau out of the bar after he had been bothering other customers. Shortly after he was removed from the bar, Moreau pulled out a gun and began firing, witnesses and police said.

The first shooting victim was a Sandbar employee, witnesses said. Manager Justin Barber is named as the victim in one of the counts of attempted murder.

Police say the second victim also was shot outside the bar. Justin Center told police he left the bar to smoke a cigarette and saw Moreau pull a gun out of his waistband and fire at him, according to an affidavit. Center fled and was shot in the thigh, according to the police affidavit. Center is named as the victim in the count of second-degree assault.

Moreau then re-entered the bar and shot the final two victims, Kitching and Jim Lindley, of Vail, according to police.

Lindley was shot four times, according to his daughter, and remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit in a Denver hospital. He is named as the victim in the other count of attempted murder.

The two first-degree assault charges pertain to Barber and Lindley, records show.

About the menacing charges, prosecutors said Moreau tried, or attempted to try, to put Steve Core and Anton Robert Eisel in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by use of a deadly weapon.

The weapon in all of the charges was described as a Springfield .45-caliber handgun.

Dana Christiansen, who is serving as Moreau’s public defender along with Reed Owens, declined to comment about the charges Monday, saying he had not received a copy of the court filing.

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