It took a few weeks, but Chris Thissen's tale of alcohol-induced heroism is in shambles.
Back in early March, Thissen, of Waseca, told cops in Owatonna that he'd tussled with a gun-toting black man outside an Owatonna bar, having learned the dark-skinned would-be criminal was plotting to attack the bartender.
During the ensuing fight, the black man's gun went off, striking Thissen in the arm; the mystery black assailant and a female companion then ran off.
Use a little imagination, and you can almost hear the wounded Thissen yelling, "AND DON'T COME BACK!"
In fact, it seems a vivid imagination is what got this whole thing started. According to the Owatonna People's Press, after Thissen gave his version of events, police reviewed surveillance tapes from outside the bar. (Oh do they, uh... do they have a camera out there?) This couple, and the moment Thissen bravely confronted and scared them off, was nowhere to be found.
Cops then searched the story-teller's car, where they found a small revolver consistent with the shooting wound Thissen had sustained that night.
In a subsequent police interview, he changed his story, admitting he'd been at Owatonna's Doug Pound Bar until close. Arriving at his vehicle, he told cops he "found" the revolver in there, and tried discerning "if it was loaded." It was, as proven by the bullet he accidentally shot into his arm.
Now it's Thissen who's in some trouble, charged with "reckless discharge of a firearm in a municipality," a felony, and false reporting of a crime to law enforcement, a gross misdemeanor, GoMN reports. The firearm charge brings a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, while the false report could carry up to 90 days and/or $3,000.
The court can also levy a restitution charge on Thissen for the false report, of up to $3,000, to reimburse local cops for expenses incurred investigating the crime he claimed.
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.
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