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Man Pulls Gun at Historic Gay Bar, Threatens Employees and Patrons

Man Pulls Gun at Historic Gay Bar, Threatens Employees and Patrons

Witnesses say the man “squared up” with one employee and threatened to kill another.

This article first appeared at The Advocate.

Police in Minnesota arrested a man after he allegedly pulled a gun and made threatening remarks at a historic gay bar this week.

Conell Walter Harris, 31, was taken into custody at the 19 Bar in Minneapolis late Monday evening and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and making threats of violence.

In a charging document posted online, authorities allege Harris “entered the bar and was ‘acting strangely,’” and later “became upset” after an employee asked to see his ID.

When a different employee asked Harris to leave, he allegedly pulled out a gun, held it in his hand, and said “I ain’t going nowhere.”

Harris allegedly “squared up” with the employee, and when a patron stepped between the two to “deescalate the situation,” he allegedly threatened them saying “what watch the f*ck you’re saying” and “I’m going to f*ck you up.”

As he left the bar, Harris allegedly said “I’ll f*cking kill your d*ke *ss” to a bartender.

Harris returned to the bar a short time later and played pool. Police arrived and “immediately saw several people pointing at a male later identified” as Harris. Police say he resisted arrest and “kept reaching into his pocket” from which they say they recovered a .45 caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun.

Little information was available on Harris, but Crime Watch Minneapolis did claim he has four prior felony convictions, including two involving firearms. The charging document also noted additional statutes involving felons with past convictions for crimes of violence. Harris will make his first court appearance later today. He is currently being held on $120,000 bail.

The news comes against the backdrop of recent violence against gay bars.

A mass shooting at the Club Q in Colorado Springs left five dead and at least 18 injured last month. The alleged shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was taken into custody after a fellow patron wrestled them to the ground and pistol-whipped them with their own gun. Aldrich's lawyers claimed in court papers that Aldrich identifies as nonbinary.

Also last month, a man in Georgia was arrested for allegedly making terroristic threats on social media against at least two LGBTQ+ nightclubs. Chase Staubs was taken into custody over Thanksgiving for making threats against two gay clubs in Atlanta, Heretic and Felix’s. No motivation was provided for the alleged crimes by police, but police did say a pepper spray gun believed used in the threats was recovered at the suspect’s home.

19 Bar first opened its doors in 1957 and is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in Minneapolis. Its atmosphere has been described as low-key and features darts, pool tables, and a jukebox.

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