A man waved a loaded handgun in a downtown Minneapolis bar with a largely LGBTQ clientele and shouted a derogatory epithet while threatening to kill a bartender, according to felony charges filed this week in state and federal courts.
Conell W. Harris, 29, of Minneapolis, was charged Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court with making threats of violence with reckless disregard of risk and with illegal weapons possession in connection with the incident late Monday at the 19 Bar located near Loring Park on W. 15th Street just west of Nicollet Avenue.
Harris was arrested at the scene after a brief scuffle, according to a police report, which noted that the gun had been stolen.
Also Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged Harris with being a felon in possession of a firearm stemming from his actions in the 70-year-old bar. Court records show Harris has one conviction each in Hennepin County for robbery and burglary, and two convictions for illegal weapons possession.
Harris left the Hennepin County jail Thursday morning and was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service. Harris appeared that afternoon in federal court in Minneapolis and has another hearing scheduled for Monday. An attorney for him declined to comment on the allegations.
This gun incident occurred as the Twin Cities LGBTQ community copes with the impact of a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Nov. 20. A gunman opened fire there, leaving five dead and 17 injured in one of the city's few LGBTQ bars.
Three days later, a candlelight vigil was held outside the Saloon in downtown Minneapolis, a popular LGBTQ nightspot where management said it was planning to increase security. The bar is hosting a fundraiser for Club Q from 7-10 p.m. Dec. 17, when tips will go to the shooting's survivors.
According to the state and federal criminal complaints filed against Harris:
Police were alerted shortly after 11 p.m. of a man who pulled out a gun after being directed to leave the bar. Several people inside pointed at Harris as officers arrived, arrested him and seized the gun.
Patrons and employees told police that Harris entered the bar and was "acting strangely," then became upset because he was asked to show identification. The bar does not allow anyone inside who is under 21 years of age. A bartender came over and told Harris to leave.
"I ain't going nowhere," the charges quoted him as saying in response, before brandishing a loaded .45-caliber Glock handgun, and he "squared up" with the bartender.
As one patron stepped between them in an effort to de-escalate the showdown, Harris warned the bartender in profane and physically threatening language to watch what he was saying or else "I'm going to [mess] you up."
Before leaving, Harris continued yelling profanities at the bartenders and used a derogatory term in a threat to kill one of them.
Harris came back inside and played pool before officers arrived and arrested him.