Crime & Courts

Gunman fired at least 13 shots at owner of Ruben’s

The armed robber who held up Ruben’s Mexican Grill two months ago fired more than a dozen shots at the owner in an exchange of gunfire that left both men wounded, according to a police affidavit on the incident.

Ruben Acosta, 58, was struck three times and gravely wounded during the robbery. He has recovered enough to return home, but family members say he faces months of recuperation before he may be able to return to his restaurant.

Reginald Kane, 26, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts each of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a handgun, and one count of kidnapping and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to the police affidavit, the restaurant at 915 W. Douglas had already closed for the evening when one of the three employees still on duty stepped outside the back door to take out the trash at 10:10 p.m.

He was confronted by a man wearing a mask and brandishing a handgun, who gestured him back into the business. Once inside, the robber pointed the gun at the employees and Acosta and demanded cash.

Acosta, who was counting money at a table, was armed with a revolver. He exchanged gunfire with the robber.

Both men were wounded, according to the report. Investigators later determined the suspect fired at least 13 shots at Acosta, who was struck three times.

The suspect grabbed cash and ran out of the business through the back door, leaving behind a blood trail. Officers who responded to the scene saw a number of footwear impressions on the floor of the restaurant.

Witnesses said the suspect was a black male wearing a hoodie, mask, gloves and dark pants.

Seven minutes after the robbery, officers were dispatched to the report of a shooting in the 1000 block of East Eighth Street. They found a black male sitting on the front porch. He was wearing boxer shorts, a bloody white T-shirt and no shoes.

He identified himself as Reginald Kane and said he’d been shot by an unknown person nearby, according to the document. But he could not provide specifics.

Police noted that he had been shot at least once in the left arm. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

People in the neighborhood told police they didn’t see anything or hear any gunshots. The woman who lived with Kane at the house on Eighth, who said she was his girlfriend, told them a car parked in front of her house was Kane’s.

Officers looked through the dark gray Ford Fusion’s windows and saw a dark glove on the center console. They also saw a dark ski mask on the front passenger side floorboard. There appeared to be blood on the inside of the driver’s door, on the carpet, on the driver’s front headlight and the driver’s side exterior mirror.

The location of the blood was consistent with someone who had been shot in the left arm, the report stated.

Search warrants were obtained for the car and Kane’s residence. Police collected the black ski mask and glove from the car. A bloody T-shirt was found on the lawn near the front porch of the house.

A pair of dark shoes that Kane’s girlfriend said were his and that he had worn that night was collected as evidence from inside the house, along with a black hooded sweatshirt with blood on it from a trash can and an owner’s manual for a 9mm Glock handgun.

Shell casings from Kane’s gun were collected at the restaurant.

Acosta suffered a collapsed lung, damage to his pelvis and hip and a severed artery as a result of his wounds. He underwent at least six surgeries as part of his recovery, family members have said. He is in a lot of pain, they say, and faces months of physical therapy.

Kane is being held on $150,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 17.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

Related stories from Wichita Eagle