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Questions swirl over future of Tequila KC after mass shooting

Tequila KC memorial outside
Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 10, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As a makeshift memorial continues to grow outside Tequila KC in Kansas City, Kansas, some in the community are wondering how the business will move forward following a tragedy that garnered national attention.

"I understand that there is fear, and I have gotten the phone calls saying, 'Ed, where are we going? Is this safe? How bad is it?" said Edgar Galicia with the Central Avenue Betterment Association.

Those are the questions many business owners along Central Avenue have asked Galicia since the tragedy early Sunday morning.

"We need to understand that this is an isolated event,” Galicia said. “This is not happening at every corner around the street going around.”

Galicia said in the last year, the bar — under new ownership — has begun to shed its notoriety and reduce the number of disturbances.

"It’s a beginning that got cut," Galicia said.

But some business owners, such as Ana Medina, who owns a boutique two doors down from the bar, told 41 Action News the establishment attracts the wrong kind of attention.

"Sometimes we lose a lot of business because early — 7 o’clock, 6 o’clock — they start to get drunk, and a lot of (people) don’t come to my business because there’s a lot of drunk people around here," said Medina, owner of Casa de Modas Aleman. "Sometimes there is a lot of people fighting in the back, very drunk people, especially on Saturday night."

Medina said she believes the bar should close permanently.

READ MORE: 41 Action News' complete coverage of the Tequila KC shooting

After the shooting, which left four dead and five others injured, Tequila KC’s future remains unclear.

One of its bartenders, Jose Valdez, told 41 Action News the bar plans to discuss its plans following the funerals for the four victims.

"I know we will step up our security and stuff like that, but we’re kind of uneasy. I don’t think we should open until he’s caught,” Valdez said Wednesday, referring to Hugo Villanueva-Morales, a suspected gunman who remains at large.

While Galicia has described the mass shooting as a step backward, he wants those in the community to know that they shouldn't shun the new owners.

"This will not mark them as the bad people. They’re not bad people,” Galicia said. “They’re victims, and we want them to know that and feel that so we’ll make sure.”

Galicia adds his organization plans to extend an invitation to the victims families to honor them at this year's Central Avenue Dia de los Muertos celebration that includes a ceremony at Bethany Park.