A man accused of pulling a gun and threatening to kill employees at a historic gay bar in Minnesota pleaded guilty to gun charges in a federal court on Wednesday.
Conell Walter Harris, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of a felon in possession of a firearm in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, according to a report in the Star Tribune. Harris was accused of entering the 19 Bar near Loring Park on November 28, 2022, and threatening employees with a gun while using anti-LGBTQ+ slurs. He was arrested by police at the bar after he returned a short time later to play pool. 19 Bar first opened its doors in 1957 and is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in Minneapolis.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice and the initial local charging document, Harris entered the 19 Bar “acting strangely” and later “became upset” after an employee asked to see his ID. When asked to leave, Harris pulled out a stolen .45 caliber Glock model 30 pistol and said “I ain't going nowhere.”
Harris threatened the employee and a patron who attempted to “deescalate the situation,” saying “Watch the f*ck you're saying” and “I’m going to f*ck you up.”
Harris also said “I'll f*cking kill your d*ke *ss” to a bartender as he left.
Harris was arrested by police after he returned to the bar a short time later and played pool. Police said he resisted arrest and kept reaching for his pocket which contained the stolen gun used in the earlier incident.
The incident at 19 Bar late last year came 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 a month earlier in October. 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.
Also in October, 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.
Harris faces up to over five years in prison if he receives the maximum sentence. He also faces additional charges in a state court. His next court appearance is May 31.