The Kansas City, Kan., man accused of killing five people in a two-state shooting spree earlier this month has a long, documented history of violent behavior.
The first hints of a volatile temper for Pablo Serrano-Vitorino surfaced in 1998, according to Los Angeles Superior Court records.
At least twice since then, Serrano-Vitorino has faced domestic violence-related charges, most recently last June when he was accused of punching his brother in the face during a disturbance in Kansas City, Kan.
In 2003, he pointed a rifle at the mother of his three children and threatened to kill her, according to the documents obtained by Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce.
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Serrano-Vitorino, who was in the country illegally, was deported after that 2003 incident.
But despite several encounters with law enforcement in 2014 and 2015, he avoided the reach of immigration officials.
A summary of Serrano-Vitorino’s criminal history included in the 2003 court documents noted that Los Angeles police arrested him on June, 18, 1998.
He was charged in that case with making a threat with the intent to terrorize. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace instead and was ordered to spend three days in jail.
Four years later, on Feb. 2, 2003, his wife called police to their home in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles during an argument. Officers spoke with the couple and left after taking a report.
After police left, Serrano-Vitorino grabbed a rifle and threatened to kill his wife, according to the court documents.
After being called back, police arrested him.
He told them he was an alcoholic and admitted to threatening her with the gun, but he said he did not intend to kill her, according to the police report of the incident.
Officers found the weapon hidden in the backyard.
A month later, his wife asked authorities to dismiss the case.
She said he didn’t point the gun at her and she wasn’t afraid of him. She also told police that he was an alcoholic and needed counseling. She described him as a “good husband, father and a hard worker,” according to the court documents.
Despite her wishes, prosecutors went forward with the case.
In a pretrial assessment report, a probation officer recommended a state prison sentence.
“Defendant’s actions should not be taken lightly,” the officer wrote. “Victim could have been seriously injured.”
The report noted that under California law, Serrano-Vitorino was not eligible for probation.
“Hopefully, defendant can get the help that he needs at the state level,” the probation officer wrote.
On March 23, 2003, he was convicted of a felony charge of making a terrorist threat and sentenced to two years in prison.
The Star attempted to contact the victim in that case but was unsuccessful.
While Serrano-Vitorino was in prison, federal immigration agents filed paperwork seeking to have him deported to his home country of Mexico because he was in the United States illegally.
After his release from prison, he was deported in 2004, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement records.
Officials with ICE said they do not know when he illegally re-entered the U.S.
In recent years in the Kansas City area, Serrano-Vitorino operated a lawn care and tree-trimming business.
Bill Brownlee, a freelance music reviewer for The Star, said he had hired Serrano-Vitorino to do work at his Prairie Village home about three or four years ago.
He was professional and did good work, Brownlee said.
“I had nothing but positive interactions with him,” he said.
Another Prairie Village man confirmed that Serrano-Vitorino did work for him more recently and did a good job. The man, who did not want his name used, declined to comment further.
Serrano-Vitorino’s next known brush with law enforcement occurred in November 2014, when he was arrested in Coffey County, Kan., for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to produce a license and speeding.
He pleaded no contest and was found guilty of speeding and was placed on diversion for DUI in May, according to Coffey County court records.
In June, he was arrested by Kansas City, Kan., police and charged in municipal court with domestic battery for allegedly punching his brother during an altercation.
After Serrano-Vitorino gave his birth country as Mexico, Wyandotte County notified ICE that he was in custody. Immigration procedures required a face-to-face interview with an agent in that situation, but an interview could not be arranged before the six-hour deadline Wyandotte County authorities faced to release him.
He pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge of simple battery and was fined $150, said Kansas City, Kan., court officials.
Serrano-Vitorino’s brother and other family members who live in Kansas City, Kan., declined to comment for this story.
In August, an Overland Park police officer pulled Serrano-Vitorino over for traffic offenses. He was issued a citation and was not arrested. Later, he was fined in Overland Park Municipal Court for driving without a license. He was fingerprinted at the court, and when the prints were entered in a national database, ICE officials sought to have him detained for an immigration violation.
However, ICE inadvertently sent its paperwork to the Johnson County jail, and it never reached Overland Park officials.
Then, late on the night of March 7, Kansas City, Kan., police went to investigate a shooting in the 3000 block of South 36th Street.
There, they found two men dead inside a house and two more men mortally wounded outside.
Mike Capps, 41, Jeremy Waters, 36, and brothers Clint Harter, 27, and Austin Harter, 29 were killed in Kansas City, Kan.
Serrano-Vitorino lived next door. Police soon sent out a notice that they were seeking him in connection with the shootings.
Authorities found his truck abandoned the next morning in Montgomery County, Mo. A short time later, a man who lived nearby was fatally shot. After a 17-hour manhunt, law enforcement officers found Serrano-Vitorino hiding in a ditch near an Interstate 70 on-ramp.