Among Colorado ski towns, Vail gets ragged on for being totally, painfully fake. Unfortunately, the town can now boast of hosting an Old-West tradition that rivals Aspen and Telluride would probably rather do without: the drunken-bar shootout.
At 7:30 on Saturday, 63-year-old Richard "Rossi" Moreau allegedly shot up the Sandbar in West Vail, killing a Carbondale man and sending three others to the hospital (one with life-threatening injuries had to be flown by life-flight chopper to Denver).
Vail residents are naturally shocked. I used to live in Vail, and the biggest battles I ever saw usually involved trustafarians shoving lifties from the Midwest over bogarted weed.
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Moreau claimed to be a former Vietnam Vet with post-traumatic stress disorder, and he also said he was part of the Ravino Ski Club, a sort of local Hell's Angels for skiers. A local journalist friend of mine once interviewed him: "He seemed like a good guy but eccentric to say the least, and with plenty of demons," the friend told me. "I guess people that were sitting near him at the Sandbar say he was mumbling things about Veterans Day Saturday night, and that he was pretty lit, to the point of being incoherent."
Moreau talked to The Vail Daily before Veteran's Day back in 2006, saying:
"There's a better way to do things," Moreau said. "You don't have to kill people. It doesn't accomplish anything. If you kill someone, you carry that with you for the rest of your life. Every person that I killed, I took their soul with me."