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Wayside West shooting suspect breaks down in court, faces life in prison

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The man accused of opening fire inside a Kalamazoo bar now faces the possibility of life behind bars.

23-year-old Orlando Mitchell was charged with open murder and felony firearm for allegedly shooting a customer to death inside the Wayside West bar in Kalamazoo early yesterday morning.

Damian Tejada's mother was in court Friday, after driving all night from Georgia to see the person who shot and killed her son, and the family's sorrow quickly turned to anger.

"What made you just decide to empty out a whole clip on a person like that? Why?" Yamileth Tejada asked Friday. "Why did you do this to my child?"

With a bandage still on his head, Orlando Mitchell was asked by the judge if he had anything to say before his bond was set.

"I'm innocent, OK?" he said. "Don't go any further."

Mitchell was emotional when he heard there would be no bond, coming to tears in court.

"Now you want to cry?" Tejada's mother asked. "Cry about what? Crying won't bring my baby back."

Yamileth Tejada refuses to watch the video taken moments after her son was shot.

The victim's girlfriend, who did not want to go on camera, says she witnessed it all end in the poker area of the Wayside West bar.

She tells Newschannel 3 that Tejada confronted one of the bartenders who he believed had overserved a friend.

She says the two started arguing, and when Tejada walked away, the employee followed.

The victim's father, Simmie Lassiter, says he wishes Mitchell would have stopped before shooting his son.

"If they could just take a step back, and think about the consequences, and the heartbreak this decision is gunna make, we have to start think about what's gong to happen after this," he said. "Don't just act on anger."

Yamileth Tejada says she wants to meet with Orlando Mitchell to hear straight from him why this happened.

His next court date is set for April 30.

If convicted, Mitchell faces life in prison.