Wife of suspected Bottoms Up gunman is at a loss about why he’d shoot up bar

The wife of a man accused of opening fire at a North Long Beach bar this week says her family is mystified about why he would shoot anyone.

Authorities say Delfon Kinney Sr., 48, wounded one man and then killed another at Bottoms Up Tavern early Wednesday morning before a police officer returned fire. Kinney was later found dead, although it’s unclear who fired the fatal shot.

The situation has left Delfon’s wife, Patricia Kinney, trying to wrap her head around the situation.

“Delfon was a wonderful man, husband, father and grandfather,” Patricia said. “They’re trying to make it seem like he was a monster or just a crazy man.”

Delfon worked as a custodian at Disneyland for almost 30 years, according to Patricia. Former Disneyland co-workers also said they were shocked by the shooting, calling Delfon a happy, friendly person.

Long Beach police investigate a shooting at a local bar that left 2 dead in Long Beach Wednesday October 23, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Patricia said she’d been talking with Delfon in the hours before the shooting and nothing was out of the ordinary. The two were planning to get dinner together—the two live separately—so Patricia headed to his Long Beach home where Delfon had been watching the Lakers game with one of their two adult sons.

When she arrived, her son was there but Delfon wasn’t. He’d left his phone charging on the couch, she said.

They had no idea Delfon—whom she calls Del—had gone to the bar until her phone rang.

“I got a call from my friend and he just told me that the neighbors had said that Del had got into it with someone at the bar. And that was all we knew,” Patricia said.

The family headed to the scene and waited outside the crime tape now cordoning off Bottoms Up where police and witnesses say Delfon confronted a cook before shooting him in the shoulder around 12:20 a.m.

Police say another patron at the bar may have then exchanged gunfire with Delfon before he shot and killed Manuel Marquez, a 44-year-old bar-back. There’s still mystery around the possible second shooter, with police only saying they found a bullet casing that indicates someone else fired.

Marquez’s death left his family visibly devastated when detectives gave them the news at the crime scene.

“He was fun. He was hella cool, got along with everybody,” said his sister, Cindy, who has bartended at Bottoms Up for 12 years.

The late-night gunfire sent dozens of people inside the bar running or ducking for shelter in a bathroom and storeroom.

Police say an officer who happened to be nearby then fired through one of the bar’s doors at Delfon. When SWAT officers searched the building, they found him dead.

Patrons and staff from Bottoms Up waited outside the bar Wednesday morning after a man opened fire inside the night before. Photo by Jeremiah Dobruck.

Patricia and her sons have been trying to get in touch with a friend Delfon may have been with at the bar, but he isn’t responding to them, she said.

Delfon wasn’t a familiar face at Bottoms Up, but he seemed like a normal customer, according to a regular patron who said he smoked a cigarette with Delfon not long before the shooting.

Patricia said the family has been hearing shifting stories about Delfon getting a phone call that disturbed him shortly before the violence, but that doesn’t make sense because his phone was left at home. They’re still searching for any definitive answers.

Delfon would defend himself, Patricia said, but she finds it hard to believe he would shoot someone without provocation.

“We’re still trying to find out what happened,” she said.

She’s also trying to figure out how to explain the situation to the young godson she and Delfon were raising.

“I don’t know what to tell him when he says ‘Ma can I go to my da’s house?'” she said.

Editor’s note: This article was updated with more details from the family of Delfon Kinney and Manuel Marquez.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.