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As manhunt for Tequila KC suspect continues, retired FBI agent speaks about process

Posted: 7:17 AM, Oct 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-09 08:17:54-04
hugo villanueva-morales.jpg

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Time is of the essence for investigators searching for a suspect in the deadly shooting at a Kansas City, Kansas, bar, according to a retired FBI agent.

Michael Tabman spent 24 years working for the FBI. He’s now retired in Overland Park and offered some insight on how the manhunt for Hugo Villanueva-Morales is working.

He said it’s normal for the local agency to call on the FBI and ATF to help in an investigation like this. First, it adds more manpower to the search. And secondly, each agency brings its own specialty to the table, helping cover more ground by assigning tasks among different agencies from one command center.

The KCK police chief said federal agencies helped his department find one suspect in the Tequila KC shooting case, Javier Alatorre. They continue to search for 29-year-old Villanueva-Morales. The shooting early Sunday morning killed four people and wounded five others.

“He's probably going to people he knows, people he thinks he can trust. He has to know the terrain, he knows how to get around,” Tabman said, suspecting Villanueva-Morales is still in the area.

He said being a fugitive is hard. There are cameras everywhere and so many people are looking for you.

So if Tabman was on the case, he’d tell Villanueva-Morales’ friends and family they can be arrested if police find out later they were secretly hiding the suspect in their home.

Investigators would also look at the suspect’s digital footprint, including phone records, credit card statements and social media accounts, to get an idea of who he’s in contact with and what habits he has.

“But the most valuable information is going to come from people,” Tabman said.

Since police have the other suspect, Alatorre, in custody, it’s likely investigators are asking him questions about Villanueva-Morales.

If you know anything about where he may be, call 911 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477, but do not approach him as police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.