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Regulation and Compliance > Litigation

Morgan Stanley Fires 90-Year-Old Broker Arrested for Shooting Business Partner

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What You Need to Know

  • Morgan Stanley fired a 90-year-old advisor after he allegedly shot his business partner as many as five times with a handgun.
  • The advisor, Leonard David Bernstein, was expected to be charged with shooting with intent to kill but released on $50,000 bail.
  • His partner, Chris Bayouth, was still recovering in a hospital on Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley terminated a 90-year-old broker on Friday, one day after he was arrested on suspicion of shooting his business partner, according to Oklahoma County Detention Center and Oklahoma City Police Department documents.

On Thursday, Leonard David Bernstein allegedly entered his firm’s office building on Waterford Boulevard on Oklahoma City and shot Chris Bayouth, 61, several times with a handgun, according to police.

Bernstein was released on $50,000 bail, according to the Oklahoma City jail blotter. An initial criminal complaint was filed against him Friday in Oklahoma County District Court, saying there was probable cause to charge him with shooting with intent to kill, a felony. Judge Kevin C. McCray was assigned the case.

“We are cooperating with the authorities and our thoughts are with our employee,” a spokesperson for the wirehouse told ThinkAdvisor by email on Tuesday. She was referring to Bayouth, who remained hospitalized as of Tuesday morning.

Also on Tuesday, in Oklahoma County District Court, Morgan Stanley filed for a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction and permanent injunction against Bernstein that the complaint said was intended to stop him from “continuing to engage in workplace harassment and from causing irreparable injury to Morgan Stanley, its employees, and its customers.”

Declining Health

Bernstein and Bayouth had been partners for nine months, according to a probable cause affidavit provided to ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday that cited “witness C.C.” as a source of that information. “Mr. Bernstein’s health has declined, and he decided to hand over his managed accounts to the victim,” according to the affidavit.

“C.C. said she was on the phone when she heard two gunshots coming from the victim’s office,” the affidavit went on to say. “C.C. looked into the victim’s office, and she saw Mr. Bernstein pointing a handgun at the victim and shooting several shots at him. C.C. said Mr. Bernstein continued to shoot the victim until the handgun slide locked back. C.C. took off running out to the parking lot where she called the police.”

Bernstein allegedly went on to “calmly exit the office building, get into his red Chrysler 300″ and leave, according to the affidavit.

According to an incident report that was provided to ThinkAdvisor, on Thursday at 3:14 p.m., Oklahoma City Police Officer Travis Ratcliffe responded to an assault with a deadly weapon at Morgan Stanley’s office building at 6305 Waterford Blvd.

“The call notes stated the calling party said his coworker shot him multiple times,” Ratcliffe reported. “Several other calls came into 911 to report this, and the suspect was identified as … Leonard Bernstein. Several other officers responded including officers from Hefner Division. While en route, the call notes continued to update, and a calling party said Leonard left in a vehicle.”

Police found Bernstein in his car and arrested him, according to the incident report.

Ratcliffe continued to the Morgan Stanley office, where he said the Oklahoma City Fire Department and emergency services personnel had already arrived. “I entered the office building, and an employee directed me to an office towards the back. I noticed several employees in the hallways and in offices. Firefighters and EMSA were treating the victim,” who was identified as Bayouth, the officer reported.

Bayouth was lying on the floor behind his desk, “conscious and alert,” according to Ratcliffe, who said in his incident report that he asked the victim who shot him, and Bayouth replied, “Leonard Bernstein,” his business partner, according to the officer.

“I asked Chris what happened prior to the shooting,” according to Ratcliffe. Bayouth told the officer only that Bernstein said he was going for a walk in the park and then shot him, according to the report.

Shot ‘as Many as Five Times’

Ratcliffe said in the report that he didn’t get the chance to ask the victim any other questions because EMSA and the Oklahoma City Fire Department were moving him to an ambulance to take him to a hospital. The officer reported he was told Bayouth had gunshot wounds to his torso, back, leg and foot.

“Chris may have been shot as many as five times,” according to Ratcliffe, who said he requested more officers because of the large number of witnesses. Ratcliffe “noticed several shell casings that appeared to be a .380 or 9 mm on the floor of the office,” while another officer “noticed a bullet laying on the floor against the large window at the back of the office,” the incident report said.

Bayouth’s “bloody clothes were cut off of him and left in the floor of the office as well,” according to the report. “We shut the office door, and I stood by as scene security. Other officers arrived and began interviewing possible witnesses.”

Bayouth was taken to OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition on Thursday and underwent surgery, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Bernstein and Bayouth did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Bayouth was with Morgan Stanley since 1997, while Bernstein joined the firm in 2007 but left to join Wells Fargo in 2012 before returning to Morgan Stanley last year, according to their reports on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.

(Pictured: Leonard Bernstein; provided by Oklahoma County Detention Center)