Man charged in Somers tavern shooting that left 3 dead

Rakayo Vinson, 24, has been charged with multiple counts of first-degree intentional homicide for a triple-fatal shooting that transpired at a Kenosha County bar Sunday, April 18.

Prosecutors accuse Vinson of killing three people and wounding others at a Somers tavern. Vinson made a virtual court appearance Wednesday, April 21. At that time, the court commissioner overseeing the matter set cash bond to continue at $4 million.

A criminal complaint states deputies responded to the Somers Tavern House around 1:15 a.m. on Sunday. Upon arrival, officers found a "chaotic" scene and located one of the victims, identified as 24-year-old Cedric Gaston, deceased.

The complaint states two victims were taken to the hospital for treatment where one was taken into surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen and the second, 22-year-old Kevin Donaldson, was pronounced dead as a result of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

The third man killed, identified as 26-year-old Atkeem Stevenson, sustained gunshot wounds to the head, neck, chest and back.

The other two victims who survived sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and to the elbow respectively.

"Nothing short of a tragedy as it appears yet another example of senseless gun violence that destroys lives," said Court Commissioner Loren Keating.

A witness told authorities that Vinson was involved in a fight at the tavern, during which Vinson sustained facial injuries. The witness said some of the individuals who fought Vinson were kicked out of the bar while Vinson tended to his wounds in the bathroom. Police said Vinson, too, was later asked to leave.

Video from the tavern's patio area, where the shooting unfolded, showed Vinson enter the area after leaving the bathroom. It also shows the muzzle flash of a firearm, according to the complaint, after Vinson entered the area. The video went on to show a man, believed to be Vinson, climb over a fence and travel through a driveway where he seemingly had a gun in his hand, prepared to shoot, before proceeding across Sheridan Road.

A second witness identified Vinson and detailed a verbal altercation that took place just prior to the shooting. Other people who were present at the time of the shooting told police they heard multiple shots fired and witnessed various parts of the incident as it transpired, including Vinson holding a gun and jumping the fence as seen on video.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely also told the court Wednesday that the gunman exchanged gunfire with a victim after leaving the patio area.

The criminal complaint states that Vinson said he lost his wallet during an interview with detectives. A wallet containing Vinson's identification was located at the scene near the fence where the jump took place on video.

"The video appears to show the defendant, initiates the beginning of that gunfire so he is the sole gunman in the bar and the initiator of gunfire outside the bar," Graveley said.

 In an interview with Vinson, detectives state Vinson admitted that he was present at the tavern and was involved in a fight. The complaint states Vinson admitted to possessing a firearm during the encounter, that things "popped off" and that he "blacked out and s*** went down." The complaint states Vinson told detectives that they would never find the firearm. 

Somers House tavern shooting

Somers House tavern shooting

"Some issue as far as self-defense, there certainly seems to be no dispute there was an assault on Mr. Vinson in the bar," said Public Defender Kristyne Watson.

Watson requested that the $4 million bond be reduced, but Commissioner Keating denied that request.

In addition to three counts of intentional homicide, Vinson is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

An adjourned initial appearance in the case was scheduled for May 5, according to court records. The complaint states that Vinson has a prior felony conviction for a 2016 weapon offense in Kansas City, Missouri.

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