A Murder in Vail
"Do you know how long I've been trying not to do this?"
One year ago this month, Richard Moreau went on a shooting spree in a Vail bar and killed a man. It was the first homicide in the posh resort town in three decades. What went wrong? Good question.
The slopes would open in 13 days. Veterans Day was only four days away. The 40th anniversary of Moreau’s discharge date from active duty had been November 5. And Moreau had been drinking. He’d already had a few glasses of whiskey when he hopped into his blue Dodge Durango, carrying his .45, and eventually ended up at the Sandbar. He left his cats Ocelot, Tusafer, Magicker, and Iris Marie crawling around his apartment, and a business card and photo of himself tacked to his front door. The card read: Richard (Rossi) Moreau. Master of Combat Arms. Sgt. U.S. Army Spec. Ops.
He pulled into a handicap spot in front of the bar. He was wearing tattered jeans and a black, long-sleeve shirt. He was in a good mood when he arrived, according to official records of that night. He drank Jim Beam and water, struck up conversations with people. He even helped a woman put on her coat. Not long after Moreau got there, a couple of Vail officers popped in, noticed Moreau, and left.
Moreau’s mood soured after being snubbed by a group of younger guys uninterested in the talkative veteran. One of the men, Justin Dale Center, had what he would describe as an “altercation” with Moreau. People at the bar took notice. Sandbar staff escorted a stumbling Moreau out of the bar. Center then went outside to smoke and next he knew, Moreau was firing multiple gunshots at him. Center was hit in the back of his right thigh. Moreau fired at an employee who threw him out of the bar, hitting the man in the arm. Amidst the chaos outside, Moreau walked back into the bar.