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Report: Ex-boyfriend reloaded gun, kept shooting bartender

Drew Karedes

Report: Ex-boyfriend reloaded gun, kept shooting bartender

CREATED Nov. 15, 2011

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- An arrest report is revealing a tale of horror in the attack that left a beloved bartender dead.

Police now say his ex-boyfriend shot him more than a dozen times inside The Garage on Monday morning around 5:30 a.m.

Tracy Kauffman allegedly stormed into the popular gay bar and immediately began shooting at Phil Wells.

Wells ran into a storeroom where Kauffman chased after him. Documents say the 50-year-old fired 15 more shots into Wells' back and head. He then reportedly reloaded his handgun and continued firing until his ammunition ran dry.

Two customers ran out the front door and called 911.

According to documents, Tracy Kauffman flew to Las Vegas from Knoxville, Tennessee, purely out of anger. He reportedly felt that Phil Wells had taken advantage of him.

Family and friends of Phil Wells have told Action News that the 29-year-old moved to Las Vegas mainly to distance himself from Kauffman.

On Tuesday, The Garage reopened, and patrons filled the bar for a fundraiser.

Mourners continued to visit throughout the night, remembering the joy that Wells had brought to them.

"The guy was loved from here to Tennessee. It's just  very sad day for the community and for everyone," said bar regular Michael Miller.

The grisly crime of passion is also drawing attention from people who didn't know Wells.

Cars could be seen frequently passing by a makeshift memorial. One woman said news of what happened has given her chills.

"To just go psycho like that, it's terrible. Where are people coming from?," asked Christine Melgar, who drove by The Garage with her daughter.

Officers found Wells dead on the ground at the bar as Kauffman drove to the Motel 6 on East Tropicana.

Kauffman told police he showered, changed and threw away his gun and clothes in a trash dumpster there. After he watched the garbage truck collect the trash, he went to McCarran International Airport to fly home.

People staying at the Motel 6 got quite a sight when detectives closed in.

"[It was] a bunch of cops on bicycles. They were going door to door. People were opening doors, and they were asking if they'd seen anybody," said Michael Merriman, visiting from Arizona.

The man police were looking wasn't there, but it wasn't long before the authorities caught up with him.

Police arrested Kauffman while he was attempting to purchase a ticket at McCarran. He was booked at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.

Kauffman faces charges of murder with a deadly weapon and burglary with a deadly weapon.

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