Rakayo Vinson has been named by authorities as the suspect accused in the Kenosha tavern mass shooting. The DA, who alleged the Somers House shootings ignited over a shoulder bump in a busy bar, said it was the fourth time in 10 years that Vinson was arrested for weapons-related offenses.
DA Mike Graveley asked for $4 million cash bond in the case on April 19. Court Commissioner Loren Keating granted that request. He called them “incredibly serious allegations.”
A review of Vinson’s Wisconsin criminal history shows he received a few days in jail for the most recent weapons offense. A felony gun charge was dismissed, but the Racine DA tells Wisconsin Right Now that was because a prosecutor misapplied the law.
Kenosha County DA Mike Graveley revealed the following:
2011: Vinson was arrested in Racine for prohibited possession of a firearm as a juvenile. A juvenile case was pursued.
2016: In Kansas City, Missouri, Vinson was convicted of illegal use of a weapon and placed on four years of probation. It’s a felony in Missouri, but there is no felony equivalent in Wisconsin.
2018: In Racine, he was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, a firearm, as a repeater.
“This is the fourth time…the horrific pattern is finalized by the homicide allegations that are here today,” said Graveley.
The jail booking list says the 24-year-old is currently being held on a potential charge of first-degree intentional homicide. He’s listed as homeless. He’s a high school graduate who worked as a machine operator, according to the defense attorney, who said Vinson was punched, was injured, and there could be a self-defense claim.
Graveley said formal charges are expected Wednesday. The charges being contemplated by law enforcement are “multiple murder cases.” The deceased victims were named as Kevin Donaldson, Cedric Gaston, and Atkeem Stevenson.
“Those three individuals all were deceased after suffering gunshot wounds at the Somers House Tavern right after midnight on April 18,” said the DA.
“This was literally over nothing,” said Graveley. He described it as a dispute in a busy bar.
Graveley said there were also three individuals injured and attempted homicide charges are likely for those people’s injuries.
Graveley said there was an “enormous amount of video” in the case, describing it as a “packed tavern” – so packed you almost couldn’t move when the shots were fired. Many fled the scene.
He said Vinson was arrested in the Mount Pleasant area after his cousin reported he had taken his car without permission.
Graveley alleged that Vinson had been involved in a “bumping in the tavern. This was really a shoulder-to-shoulder situation. That resulted in a fight occurring where Mr. Vinson had been punched in a fight in the tavern. Some people were kicked out of the tavern by tavern staff. Mr. Vinson was taken by the proprietor to a separate area of the tavern.”
The proprietor had a conversation with Vinson trying to calm Vinson down and trying to get him to “let bygones be bygones,” said the DA. Right after, Vinson put his hoodie up and proceeded over to where some in the group remained, alleged Graveley. Gunfire rang out. “Mr. Vinson … is the individual on video who leaps over the terrace way into the driveway of the location.” Graveley said Vinson’s wallet was recovered from the scene.
Rakayo Vinson denied he was present in the tavern. “I blacked out and sh*t went down,” Graveley alleged Vinson said.
Rakayo Vinson Past Wisconsin Gun Case
We reviewed Rakayo Vinson’s past criminal history in more detail in Wisconsin. Here’s what we found.
In 2018, Vinson was convicted in Racine County of carrying a concealed weapon as a repeater, a misdemeanor, and possession of THC, as a repeater, a forfeiture offense. A charge of resisting or obstructing an officer as a repeater was dismissed and read-in at sentencing.
On Aug. 24, 2018, he was ordered to spend seven days in the local jail on count one and two days for failure to pay fines. Count three resulted in a fine. The state amended the marijuana charge to an ordinance violation. He had a sentencing credit of seven days for time served.
An April 2018 notation says, “Defendant crossed out address on signature bond; however, did not indicate an updated address. Called defendant at listed number and defendant indicated he was ‘house to house’ and did not know any addresses that he was staying at.” (We would note that not knowing where a defendant was when out on bail was painted as an egregious issue by the Kenosha Co. DA’s office in the unrelated Kyle Rittenhouse case, which wanted an arrest warrant as a result, denied by the judge. There’s no sign of such urgency in the Vinson case record out of Racine). Bail for Vinson was listed as $250 cash bail.
There is also a felony case for possess a firearm-convicted of a felony that was filed in October 2018.
Cash bond was set in that case of $250. The defense had asked for a bail modification to that amount, and the state didn’t object. Bail was originally $1,000.
It was dismissed on 9/30/2019 on a motion by the defense that was joined by the state (the prosecution). Why was the felony gun case dismissed?
We contacted the Racine County district attorney, Tricia Hanson, to ask. This is what she told us:
“To prove Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in Wisconsin, the State must prove a defendant who possesses a firearm has prior felony conviction that would be a crime if prosecuted in Wisconsin. The defendant in our case was convicted in Missouri of the Wisconsin equivalent of Carrying a Concealed Weapon. In Wisconsin, Carrying a Concealed weapon is a misdemeanor, so we incorrectly charged the defendant contrary to Wisconsin law, when he was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Felon here. That is why the charges were dismissed. The defendant was convicted of carrying the same gun while concealed in Racine County Case Number 18 CM 636. Both cases were based on the same set of facts.”
We requested the criminal complaint in the earlier gun case and will add it to this story if it’s received.