Kalamazoo, Mich. — (May 7, 2014) Michigan’s Liquor Control Commission is reviewing the liquor license of the Wayside West bar in Kalamazoo after an employee there allegedly shot and killed a patron during a charity poker tournament.
A spokesperson for Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Commission confirmed that they are working with police on this incident while reviewing the license.
Police say Orlando Mitchell shot and killed Damian Tejada following an altercation at the bar.
Witnesses said Tejada ran to take cover under a charity poker table as Mitchell ran after him with gun drawn.
Police said that Mitchell was employed at Wayside West.
Witnesses said he may have serving as a bouncer or bar-back while he was there.
Mitchell appeared to cry in court during arraignment, telling the judge he was innocent.
A representative for Kalamazoo Public Safety told a judge during the probable cause hearing that Mitchell was the number one suspect right away.
She said that numerous witnesses were spoken to and it was determined that multiple persons observed Mitchell pull out a handgun and shoot and kill Damian Tejada.
It happened following some sort of “verbal altercation” between the two, according to police.
The case also caught the attention of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
That agency sent a statement saying, “The MLCC is reviewing this matter and will be contacting and working with the local police.”
We also took a look at the past violation history at the Wayside West to see what the commission may be considering when they review the license.
Michigan`s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reported that KWN Inc. was cited for a small handful of issues over the past 20 years.
In 1994, they were cited for giving away “alcoholic liquor” and allowing gambling on football pools.
In March, 2003, they received a violation for a sale to a minor.
In late July of 2004, the company was cited for selling to an intoxicated person.
Then in 2008, they were cited for selling to a minor decoy.
The bar has been closing earlier since the shooting, now the doors are locked at 12:00 am.
We spoke to a staff member at Wayside West to see if they were aware their license was under review.
They said they were not working with the commission on a review and hadn’t heard that was the case.
The commission’s spokesperson said they will also be working to find out more about past incidents or police contact at the bar as well as learning more about the shooting itself.
Witnesses said during an altercation at the bar Mitchell was somehow struck in the face.
However, Tejada’s parents told us during a previous interview that any possible claim of self-defense would not sit well with them should that be the case in the future.
“There`s so much pettiness. People have guns. They do whatever they do to kill people nowadays, said Simmie Lassite, Damian`s Dad. “If they could just take a minute to step back and think about the consequences and the heartbreak that this decision is going to make. We have to start thinking about what`s going to happen after this, don`t just act on anger and trying to prove you`re a better man and you can take somebody`s life.”
“I`ve experienced bad things in my life, but it`s nothing worse than to lose my son and having to bury him before I leave this earth,” said Yamileth Tejada, Damian`s mother. “I wasn`t planning on doing that.”