KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Orlando Mitchell, the suspect in a fatal shooting at Wayside West bar in Kalamazoo, alternately shed tears and proclaimed his innocence as he first heard the charges against him Friday.
The 23-year-old was arraigned via video in Kalamazoo District Court on charges of open murder and felony firearms.
According to police, Mitchell is the man who gunned down 23-year-old Damien Tarey Tejada at the bar early Thursday morning after an argument.
Witnesses who were in the bar said Mitchell chased Tejada through the bar, first firing a shot and then catching up with Tejada, firing multiple shots into the man as he laid on the floor.
Police confirmed Mitchell is an employee at Wayside West, but would not say if he was working at the time of the shooting.
Outside the courthouse after Mitchell’s arraignment, members of Tejada’s family were furious.
“I need to see his face,” said Yamileth Tejada, the victim’s mother. “I have to put a face with who took my son from me. I have to put a face with it, I have to see who it is.”
Yamileth Tejada said her family was trying to decide how to explain to her son’s 4-year-old daughter that she wouldn’t see her father again.
“She doesn’t really know. That’s got to be a hard step,” she said. “We’re going to sit down as a family and discuss it. She is only 4 years old. I’m sure she is not going to grasp it.”
Simmie Lassiter, Damien Tejada’s father, was also in court for Mitchell’s arraignment. He told 24 Hour News 8 he was still processing what had happened to his son, and it left him without words.
“There’s so many emotions that I just don’t know how to answer these questions, because I really don’t know how I feel,” Lassiter said. “No parent should have to go through this.”
If convicted, Mitchell, will face a mandatory life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.
He is expected back in court for a preliminary exam on April 30.