Winnemucca Authorities Suspect Revenge Spurred Bar Shootings

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. (AP) - A man who shot and killed two brothers at a crowded bar may have been angry over delays in the trial of the men accused of shooting his own family member in a separate incident last year, authorities said.

Authorities said Ernesto Villagomez, 30, killed Jose and Margarito Torres early Sunday at the Players Bar and Grill. Villagomez was then shot and killed by another tavern patron who had a concealed weapons permit.

Margarito Torres, 19, and another man are accused of shooting a member of Villagomez's family last July. Mario Villagomez was left paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.

Margarito Torres and Jose Jesus Castellano-Moreno were to stand trial in January for the shooting, but the court proceeding was delayed.

"It appears from what we can tell, that they didn't feel this was moving along fast enough through the criminal justice system, and they probably wouldn't get justice unless they got it themselves," said Russell Smith, Humboldt County district attorney.

There have been several confrontations between the Villagomez and Torres families in recent months, authorities said.

"We're going to try to keep the peace because we don't think
this is over. We are having 24-hour patrols."

"That evening it was stated several times it's not over yet by family members," he said. "We definitely believe it's not finished."

Smith said the two families have been feuding for years in what he described as a "modern American version of the Hatfields and McCoys."

After the July shooting incident, Smith said he had members of both families in his office, and both said their lives were being threatened.

"We were trying constantly to get them to de-escalate and stay away from events where the other families were involved," he said. "It seemed to fall on deaf ears."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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