6 months in the workhouse for man who shot at couple outside gay bar


A man who uttered a homophobic slur and then shot at two people with a BB gun outside a Minneapolis gay bar has been sentenced to 6 months in the Hennepin County workhouse, authorities say.

Wayne Steven Odegard, 44, of Blaine, Minnesota, will also remain on probation for five years after he pleaded guilty to the charge of making terroristic threats, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Odegard was walking in downtown Minneapolis when he saw two men on the patio outside Saloon, at 830 Hennepin Avenue, around 11 p.m. on September 25, KSTP reports.

According to the charges, he directed an anti-gay insult at them, pulled out a BB gun and fired several shots, hitting one of the men in the leg and causing a minor injury.

When he was questioned by police later, he told them that the sight of the two men kissing had made him angry, the charges say.

As well as workhouse and probation punishments, Odegard was also ordered to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation, the county attorney's office says, as well as a psychological evaluation, and will be forced to attend anger management classes.

If he fails to meet the conditions of his probation, he faces a year and a day in prison.

Rare occurrence in Twin Cities

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office said the Odegard incident was not a common occurrence, telling BringMeTheNews there is "no real trend" of prosecutions of crimes motivated by apparent anti-gay sentiment.

After the incident, Saloon security guard Tyler Erickson, who tackled Odegard, told FOX 9 said he had never seen that kind of behavior in five years on the job.

The city has come a long way from the early 1990s, when anti-LGBT crime was rife, particularly around the Loring Park area of downtown, the scene of the murder of 21-year-old Joel Larson, Twin Cities Daily Planet reports.

Surveys have shown that both Minneapolis and St. Paul now rank highly when it comes to showing tolerance towards the area's LGBT community.

A study by Nerdwallet earlier this year ranking the Twin Cities sixth on the list of America's most LGBT-friendly cities.

The cities were outside the top 10 last year, but rose in the rankings after Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law the bill recognizing gay marriage.

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