Video Shows Chaos Following Deadly Shooting At Wayside West In Kalamazoo

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Damian Tejada, shooting victim

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – (April 17, 2014) We’re learning more about the man who was shot and killed at the Wayside West bar in Kalamazoo.

The victim is Damian Tejada, 23, of Kalamazoo.

Witnesses say he ran from the shooter who was firing at him as he tried to hide under a poker table before he was fatally wounded.

It was around 1:30 am Thursday when chaos erupted inside a smaller room that’s used for charity poker events.

John Bolenbaugh, who was a regular for card night at the bar on Wednesdays, was nearly hit by bullets as the victim tried to run to get away.

“The shooter that was chasing him down was shooting as he was running after him,” he said.  “Then he stood over him and shot him til the clip was empty. I was within a couple feet, scared for my life, and the only thing I could think of is my baby I might never see and my wife.”



The two men were both regulars at Wednesday night charity poker when the bullets flew.

The organizer of that event, could be seen coming up from under a counter where she dove for shelter.

Bolenbaugh said that he was sitting at the poker table when Damian ran behind him, trying to get away.

“He ran around me to get there, so that’s when he’s shooting at him, he’s shooting at me, thank God nothing hit me,” said Bolenbaugh.

The patrons at the bar could be seen shoving the poker table out of the way to aid Damian.

Bolenbaugh walked us through how far the shooter ran to get at Damian and how close he was to losing his own life.

“He’s got to run where the opening is at Wayside past me to get underneath the table for protection,” said Bolenbaugh. “It’s a blessing from God I didn’t get shot.”

“I crouched down like this and I ‘m a few feet from him and he’s right behind my chair.”

“He went Boom boom boom until the clip was empty when the clip was empty he yelled at him and I took my jacket off and went over and held him,” he said.

Bolenbaugh knew Damian from card nights at the bar and had just bought an SUV from one of his family members who wanted him to share the video to get justice for Damian.

“He’s a nice guy. Him and his girlfriend come in and we play cards.  He’s always smiling. He’s a nice person, nice guy. I’ve never heard of anything negative in the last year that I’ve been playing. He’s a good guy as far as I know and I don’t understand,” said Bolenbaugh.

Girlfriend Kia Smith shares a young daughter with Damian.

She was also at the bar and watched him pass away.

“I’m heartbroken for her,” said Bolenbaugh.

Smith’s Facebook page was full of messages, telling her to stay strong for their daughter.

Damian’s cousin, Sierra Allen , said Damian grew up in the Kalamazoo area although his mother, brother and sister now live in Georgia.

She was too broken up to go on camera, but she did tell us, “Damian was a sweet guy and funny.  He didn’t deserve this.  I don’t know what happened.”

His sister wrote on her Facebook page, “Not my brother God, not my brother.”

“Why would anyone shoot somebody else that’’s unarmed, running away,” said Bolenbaugh. “I’ll never forget it. I can’t sleep now.”

Although it’s been confirmed that the shooter was an employee at Wayside West and patrons tell us he was a bouncer, it’s unclear whether he was working the evening of the shooting.

Wayside West staff couldn’t comment on that, they said due to the ongoing investigation.

The owner did release this statement:



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  • Tina

    What the Hell is wrong with people's brains these days! There are so many evil and wicked people in this world. What makes these evil people think they have the right to take another humans life? Seriously, the death penalty needs to be brought back to Michigan. I think it should be put on the ballot and brought to a vote. There is no consequence for such violent crimes. What go to prison where you get free meals served to you, cable TV, a gym, free medical care and you don't have to work for a living and struggle to pay the bills and keep a roof over your head…. How is that punishment for the crime. I am sure prison isn't fun but come on, where is the Justus in one evil human taking another humans life and allowed to live out the rest of theirs? Bring back the death penalty and start making examples of these people who think they have the right to murder someone.

  • Whateva

    What makes someone think they can hit another person in the head with a beer mug ?
    Hitting a person in the head with a mug is trying to kill them…is your friend evil too or just the guy he hit in the head ?
    If you don't like people defending themselves….don't attack people

    Defending yourself is NOT murder .
    I think your friend should have considered the consequences before attacking another person…

    At least you spelled "justus" right, at least in this case…what makes you think you have the right to attack people ?

    So, you complain people who defend themselves are evil and should get the death penalty, how about hoods who attack and kill their victim….should they get the death penalty too…or is that the "justus" part?
    its real simple, don't be a hard ass, a thug, a crook, a thief or otherwise victimize other people and there would be no reason to fight.
    BTW its spelled Justice and that means for all, not just-us.

  • John

    Wayside west is the seediest bar in kazoo, went in for a burger and seen four drug deals go down right in front of me I never went back, it's time to pull that license , the newbys need to find a new line of work besides destroying lives , I hope this is one of those deals where they keep kps in there for years if it's not shut down. Good riddens newby.

  • Keep It 100

    This is a sad story. But when you go looking for trouble or start trouble be prepared for the consequences. I’ve thought about this situation and asked myself what I would do if I were in this situation. If I had my piece on me I would of snapped, blacked out and annihilate the other person. Be a man and fight with Ur hands. If weapons, (bottles, mugs, or anything else) are used then it’s all out war. The defender will probably do 2-3 years for use of a weapon in a bar and that’s it.

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