Bartender dead after early-morning shooting near UNLV

Bartender dead after early-morning shooting near UNLV

By Katie Crowther. CREATED Nov 14, 2011

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A man is dead, after being shot inside a local bar near UNLV, early Monday morning.

It happened at "The Garage," a popular gay bar in the 1400 block of East Flamingo, near Maryland Parkway.

Investigators say around 5:30 a.m., a white man in dark clothing entered the bar and opened fire on the bartender, Phil Wells.

"Phil would never do anything to hurt anybody, so this is completely out of the blue," says his friend, Brandon Busche.

When word spread of the shooting, Phil's friends feared the worst.

"Immediately Facebook messages, emails, phone calls and text messages were going out," Busche describes. "We knew Phil was working. We wondered if he was okay. We kept texting him, but didn't hear back. Then we found out he was killed."

Police haven't arrested anyone for the shooting, and they don't believe robbery was the motive.

"I can't imagine someone wanting to hurt him," Busche says.

"He had no enemies," adds Michael Shateswell. "He'd welcome anybody with open arms, and a huge hug all the time."

They say bartenders lock the side door of the bar after midnight, so the suspect had to have come through the front door.

There's surveillance cameras both in, and outside, the bar. Many are hoping they lead police to whoever did this.

"I want whoever did this to get caught," Shateswell says. "Phil didn't deserve this. He'd go out of his way for anybody."

Friends set-up a memorial for Phil outside the bar, with posters, candles and flowers. It's their way to honor their friend, whose life was cut tragically short.

"Phil's one of those people that always had a smile on his face, and he'll be very much remembered and missed," Busche says.

"He's always going to be in our hearts, and in our memories," Shateswell adds.

A vigil will be held outside "The Garage" Monday night at 8 p.m. 
A lot of questions still remain among Phil's friends. They want to know if the shooting was a random act, a hate crime, or the result of a domestic dispute. So far, police aren't giving those answers.

Anyone with any information concerning this crime is urged to contact the L.V.M.P.D. Homicide section at (702) 828-3521 or Crime Stoppers by phone at 385-5555 or on the internet at