EL PASO, Texas - What happened at the Three Legged Monkey early Monday morning left an Army specialist dead and another charged with murder and a bar closed while an investigation into the incident is completed.
An eyewitness said it all could have been avoided.
"I'd say a good 10 out of the 12 were soldiers," said a longtime customer of the Three Legged Monkey , who asked ABC-7 to conceal his identity. He said the shooting started as an altercation between two groups inside the bar. "The more aggressive group was kind of herded to the door and they went outside and it was the second group that forced through it, went out the side doors and chased these guys out in the parking lot."
Alex Gabriel Jaime, 23, of Fort Bliss was found dead in the parking lot of the Three Legged Monkey at 1550 Hawkins at about 1 a.m. Monday. The altercation escalated to the point that Zareef Quasim Saleel, 25, also of Fort Bliss, produced a firearm and shot Jaime one time in the chest, according to police. El Paso Crimes Against Persons detectives have arrested and filed murder charges against Saleel.
All that remains here outside the Three Legged Monkey is a shrine for the victim and a bloodstain in the parking lot.
The witness said that the Jaime refused to back down, even after the alleged shooter pulled a weapon out of his vehicle.
"He just didn't seem like he was thinking clearly at the time," the witness said.
In a way, he was egging the shooter on, the witness told ABC-7.
"He wasn't backing down, wasn't backing down from it at all," said the witness, who was about 15 feet away from the alleged shooter. "He was saying stuff like 'you won't do it ... I dare you to shoot me.'"
Seconds later, a shot rang out
"It was surreal," the witness said. "It was a scene out of a horrible movie and out of a nightmare. The sound of it was deafening and he just immediately went to the ground. It was a dangerous situation and I really don't think any of us there that night realized how dangerous it was until that guy pulled that trigger."
The witness said this isn't the first time he's seen an altercation between soldiers, although it was the first time he saw it end this way.
"The aggression that comes out of the soldiers that fight with each other is 10-fold ... it's gonna happen again it's just no nobody can tell when or where," the witness said.
Both the witness and the owner of the bar, Mike Armstrong, who saw the shooting as well, described the weapon used as a military rifle.
But Fort Bliss officials said that is simply not true. Fort Bliss officials said it was, "a commercially produced weapon for personal use."
The bar remains closed, the result of a precautionary seven-day suspension by the TABC.