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19 Bar Owner Says Alleged Shooter Devon Strouss's "Self -Defense" Claim Is BS

Strouss (right) faces multiple felonies in connection with the incident.

Strouss (right) faces multiple felonies in connection with the incident.

-- Update at bottom --

19 Bar owner Gary Hallberg categorically rejects any notion the shots Devon Strouss allegedly fired into his establishment last week came in self-defense.

"I wasn't there, but obviously that guy was so drunk he wasn't really there either," Hallberg says. "We have 20 cameras in there. Do you want to see the footage?" (We told Hallberg we're indeed interested to check it out.)

See also:

Devon Strouss's Family Says 19 Bar Shooting Was Self-Defense

"This whole story about [Strouss] being attacked and his dog being attacked is ridiculous," Hallberg continues.

As for the notion Strouss's mugshot hasn't been released because he had injuries on his face indicating he'd been beaten before shots rang out, Hallberg says he was in court for Strouss's first appearance a few days after the incident and "he looked like an altar boy."

According to Hallberg, while a drunken, belligerent Strouss and his dog were being removed from the bar, one of his flip-flops came off. The altercation that culminated in the shooting of the 19's general manager, Barak Evertsen, and a bystander named JJ Jarvis began when Evertsen "opened the door and threw the flip-flop out, and the guy starts punching through the door."

Strouss then broke out his handgun and opened fire, Hallberg adds.

"The whole bar ducks and runs, the five shots come shooting through the goddamn door," he adds.

That version of events is corroborated by Corey Rusco, the former general manager of the 19 Bar, who tells us, "Devon was standing outside of the bar after being removed, asking the bartender through a locked door for his flip-flop back. It was when the door cracked open to honor his request that he began to shoot."

The afternoon before we published a story conveying the Strouss family's version of events (linked above), we called the 19 Bar for comment. We still hadn't heard back by the following morning, but Hallberg says that's because Evertsen was still in the emergency room earlier this week "with pain and swelling from the bullet that is still in his body."

Hallberg says a bullet ended up lodged in the bar, right in the middle of the serving station, after it bounced off the floor.

"Had Barak not yelled 'Get down!' someone would have been standing there," he adds.

Reached for comment yesterday, Strouss's lawyer, James Hanvik, says he still hadn't talked to his client to hear his full version of events. Strouss remains free on bail.

:::: UPDATE ::::

This afternoon, we received the following email from Robyn Frechett (printed here unedited):

Hi. I was at the 19 the night I'd the shooting leaving with my girlfriend just seconds before it all went down. I saw the dog on the patio. No vest. No leash. No supervision. I scolded him as a dog lover/sitter/owner and he blew me off. Thank goodness he didn't start shooting then! I know Barak and have for several years. He is a good man. Not a mean or aggressive bone in his body. He took a bullet to give the guy his shoe back... to be nice. Any claim otherwise is utter BS. He is a great manager and would do anything to avoid a situation like this. Seeing the guy on the patio he was not injured in any way. I suspect he stumbled or got his "injuries" of his own drunken accord. To blame the man who saved lives and protected the establishment as well does not deserve such ridiculous alllegations. The footage will surely show this. I would gladly testify in court as to his character and what I saw that night. It makes me sick to see the literal hero be blamed in any way. The shooter deserves to have the book thrown at him.
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.