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Rakayo Alandis Vinson Charged In Kenosha County Bar Shooting That Killed 3, Wounded 3 Others; Bond Set At $4 Million

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS) -- A 24-year-old man is being held on homicide charges, in a shooting at a Kenosha County bar that left three men dead and three others wounded on Sunday.

As CBS 2's Jim Williams reported Monday, authorities said a stolen car led police to the suspect.

Rakayo Alandis Vinson of Racine, Wisconsin was arrested Sunday and charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide, according to the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department. His bond was set at $4 million on Monday, and he is being held at the Kenosha County Jail.

Vinson, RakayoA.
Rakayo Vinson is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in a mass shooting at a bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, which left three people dead and three others wounded. (Credit: Kenosha County Sheriff)

The shooting took place early Sunday morning Sunday inside the Somers House, at 1548 Sheridan Rd. in the village of Somers, and another exchange of gunfire took place outside in the street.

"It's a difficult day in Kenosha, and recently today I found out that they've been something like 40 mass shootings in this country in the last month," said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, "and to think that Kenosha is part of something so tragic, it just breaks your heart."

Beth said Monday that the chain of events started a little bit before 12:42 a.m. Sunday – when a scuffle broke out between Vinson and the three men who were later shot dead. Vinson was kicked out of the bar, and he went outside – only to come back in with a gun and open fire, Beth said.

Two of the men who died were shot inside the bar. A third was shot across the street along Sheridan Road, and got into a car with a driver who drove a few blocks and flagged down police to help him – but he then died, Beth said.

Three other men were wounded in the shooting, Beth said. It was not believed that they were intended targets, he said.

Family late Sunday identified one of the victims who was killed as Cedric Gaston of Kenosha. He was a little more than two weeks away from his 25th birthday and was a regular at Somers House, family said.

Katrina Haun is the mother of Gaston's son.

"He's the best dad in the world, and I don't know how to tell him he was taken from us," Haun said.

Gaston's brother, Cartier Gaston, spoke while in shock on Sunday.

"He was very loved, lovable – he loved his kids. He loved his nieces and nephews. He loved his girl," said the victim's brother, Cartier Gaston.

Beth said the other two victims who were killed were identified as Atkeen Stevenson, 26, and Kevin Donaldson, 22, both of Kenosha.

Cartier Gaston said all of the victims were friends.

The three men who were wounded were a 26-year-old man from Kenosha and two men – ages 22 and 23 – from Wonder Lake, Illinois, Beth said.

At a virtual bond hearing Monday, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said suspect Vinson fled to another county, and was apprehended when a relative called police and reported he had taken a car without permission.

Graveley said Vinson first denied having been at the tavern, but then admitted he had been there after detectives said his ID had been found there and he was on video.

Vinson also admitted that he had been in possession of a gun and that he was in a fight. When detectives asked Vinson if he was the shooter he said, "I blacked out and s**t went down," Graveley said.

Vinson told detectives nobody had been targeted and said the gun would not be found – which indeed it had not been as of Monday, Graveley said.

"The current indication is that this was literally over nothing," Graveley said. "This was literally over a very minor dispute that happens at a busy bar across this country every night when people are out celebrating or socializing."

This occasion was also the fourth time that Vinson has been arrested for illegal possession of a weapon in the past 10 years, Graveley said.

Live: Suspect in the deadly Kenosha County tavern shooting makes court appearance

Live: Suspect in the deadly Kenosha County tavern shooting makes court appearance

Posted by CBS 58 on Monday, April 19, 2021

Defense attorney Kristyne Watson suggested that there might have been more than one weapon fired and the case against Vinson might not be as clear-cut as Graveley alleged.

"I think there is a lot more to this situation than just what has been laid out," Watson said.

But Kenosha County Judge Loren Keating emphasized the seriousness of the charges as he set bond for Vinson at $4 million cash.

The Somers House bar is popular with students who attend nearby Carthage College. The college was placed on lockdown, but that lockdown was later been lifted.

On Sunday, several neighbors who live nearby were seen laying flowers and trying to piece together what happened.

"Pretty close to midnight, I'd just crawled into bed," said witness and neighbor Peter Ploskee. "Next thing you know, I hear just a bunch of shots going off."

Those shots, of course, claimed three lives. The chaos of the moment was vaguely captured from afar on Ploskee's Ring doorbell camera.

Flashes of light seen at the top right of the doorbell camera video are from gunshots, according to Ploskee.

"Look out the window and just see people running from the bar in every direction; people screaming," he said.

Ploskee was witnessing from across the street what witnesses like Heidi Wittwer were experiencing from inside.

"All I saw was we were told to duck and then everyone started running, and we all just ran - very fast," Wittwer, a Carthage College student, told CBS 2's Marissa Parra on Sunday.

Beth said officers from numerous police agencies rushed to the scene following the shooting, including Kenosha police, University of Wisconsin-Parkside police, Racine city police and county sheriff's police, and police from Mount Pleasant and Caledonia – along with the Wisconsin State Patrol and Department of Justice.

Detectives and other law enforcement officers spent the day Sunday conducting interviews and collecting evidence from the crime scene – including impounding several vehicles.

Meanwhile, the emotional toll from the night on those who witnessed the shooting was clear.

"I really hope people take away that they need to wake up," Wittwer said. "I mean, this is ridiculous. There shouldn't be shootings at a college bar."

Sheriff Beth on Monday described the arc of violence in the area over his 39-year career in law enforcement.

"When I started as a deputy sheriff in 1982, if we had one homicide every other year that was huge.," Beth said. "So things are different now than it was for me when I first started as a deputy, and we're not Mayberry anymore."

Friends of the victims are planning an anti-violence rally in Kenosha on Saturday. In the last week alone, there have been mass shootings in Indianapolis; Austin, Texas; and Kenosha.

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