Shooting followed romantic rejection at southwest valley bar


James Keck felt the sting of rejection after a co-worker spurned his romantic advances.

On Thursday afternoon, less than an hour before Las Vegas police said he walked through the doors of a southwest valley bar carrying a 12-gauge shotgun, Keck, 42, left an angry voice mail for the woman whose affection he desired.

"Do you want to keep talking (expletive)?" Keck told the bartender, according to his arrest report released Friday. "I will (expletive) kill you!"

His words almost proved prophetic.

Las Vegas police said Keck's shotgun blasts injured three women between the ages of 30 and 60. A 50-year-old woman who was shot in the chest was the most seriously injured. She was listed in critical but stable condition at University Medical Center.

The woman Keck had pursued romantically survived the attack with a wound to her hand.

Police said at 1:24 p.m. Keck walked into his workplace, Bomas Bar & Grill, 8020 S. Durango Drive, near Windmill Lane, and shot at the 30-year-old bartender who had rejected him. He pursued her into a nearby business where he wounded the bartender and two others who got in his way.

Police arrested Keck without incident.

He is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center on three counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of burglary.

The report described a frenzied scene inside and outside the bar.

One witness said Keck had a "weird look" in his eyes when he walked into Bomas. He immediately turned his attention toward the bartender.

Once Keck, also a bartender, saw his target, he chased her around the bar and shot at her twice, the report said.

A chef told police he heard the woman's screams for help, and once he opened the kitchen door, Keck pointed the shotgun in his direction.

The report said the chef wanted to help the woman but thought otherwise as he stared down the barrel of the weapon.

"He thought Keck was going to shoot him, which made him think of his family," the report said.

The chef left the business to warn others and direct police once they arrived, the report said.

The female bartender ran out of the bar and into a nearby business. As she tried to explain to people what was happening, Keck fired his shotgun and shattered the business's glass door. The woman ran out of the back of the second business, and hid behind a trash bin until police arrived, the report said.

The first arriving officer, identified as G. Taylor, saw Keck loading a shotgun and staring at the second business located behind Bomas. Taylor then briefly turned his attention to a woman, age 60, who had been shot in the arm.

When Taylor looked back at Keck, he had entered the business and fired three times, the report said.

Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Jay Roberts commended Taylor's decision to wait for assistance during a Friday afternoon news conference on the shooting.

Taylor didn't confront Keck until four other officers arrived, the report said. No shots were fired by police.

"If this officer would have hastily engaged the suspect, we might very well have another victim listed," Roberts said.

Thursday afternoon's shooting was "terrifying," Roberts said.

When police apprehended Keck with shotgun in hand, his only words to an officer who asked him whether he was the shooter were: "I am the only one," the report said.

Once inside the second shooting scene, officers found the woman who had been struck in the chest. On Thursday, police incorrectly identified the three shooting victims as a woman and two men. On Friday, spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said the discrepancy was caused by conflicting witness accounts.

The report said Keck might have had other reasons to be angry in addition to being rejected by a co-worker.

Keck had been suspended Wednesday from Bomas after failing a drug test.

Keck's Facebook page, which shows him cradling a baby in a photo, seemed to indicate as much.

That day Keck posted a status update that read: "looks like i got the next week off ..."

Other updates on the social media website indicated Keck cycled through a gamut of emotions in the past few weeks.

On March 25, he wrote about loving his life. Less than a week later, he seemed to threaten nobody in particular.

"if you got something to say ... say it now .."

On that same day, March 31, Keck wrote about his frustrations at the bar: "off to work ... hope today is better than yesterday ... theres always hope ..."

During the news conference, Roberts said police had no indication before the shooting that Keck was prone to violence. The Clark County District Court database did not link his name with any criminal history.

Despite that, according to the report, investigators have a litany of evidence against Keck for Thursday's shooting.

His report listed 22 witnesses and victims. Police recovered a black Mossberg 500 shotgun used in the shooting. Surveillance footage recovered from both businesses show Keck firing the weapon.

Police also recovered Keck's cellphone, which they say was used to leave threatening voice mails against his coworker. She received the last voice mail from him at 12:30 p.m., 54 minutes before police were alerted to Keck's actions.

Police said they recovered three types of shells from Keck's shotgun at the scene: birdshot, buckshot and slugs.

Keck is to appear in court Monday.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

 

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