OWATONNA, MN — Shooting oneself by accident may be embarrassing, but police say a Waseca man did himself no favors in that situation by claiming to have been shot preventing a crime.
Police investigating a March 3 shooting outside the Dog Pound Bar on Cedar Avenue now say that the alleged victim, Christopher Thissen, 33, of Waseca, lied to police about what had happened. Thissen, who was struck in the arm by a .22 bullet in the incident, was charged Wednesday with reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality and misdemeanor falsely reporting a crime. The firearm charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.
According to the complaint, officers responded at about 12:45 a.m. March 3 for the alleged assault, and Thissen reported he had come out of the bar and saw a black man and I identified woman in the parking lot arguing, with the black man holding a gun and saying he intended to assault the bartender. Thissen said he’d intervened in the argument and struggled with the black man over the handgun, during which the gun went off, and said the two people ran off afterward.
Police reviewed surveillance footage but could not find the encounter, and in a subsequent interview, a detective noticed inconsistencies in Thissen’s story. With his permission, officers searched has car and found a revolver with one fired casing in the cylinder.
Under further questioning, Thissen told police he’d left the bar at closing and “found the gun in his car,” at which point he held it pointing at his arm while cycling it to see if it was loaded, and accidentally fired it when his thumb slipped off the hammer. He admitted he’d made up the story about the fight in the parking lot.
Court records show Thissen will make his first appearance in the case on May 3.
As City Pages darkly quipped, “The black man described in Thissen’s original story is still at large. He is a suspect in hundreds of other police investigations, historically, and is expected to continue popping up at the scenes of crimes that did not happen.