Story about shooter smuggling gun into Champions via fake leg is BS, attorney says

Just months before Champions Bar closed for good earlier this year under pressure from the city, an innocent bystander named Mark Stephenson was shot to death at the Lake Street dive.

But Ed Matthews, an attorney representing Champions, told us there was little the bar could do to prevent the violence.

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Referring to the shooter, Ron Powell, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the incident earlier this month, Matthews said, "He went through a metal detector like everybody else does when he comes in, and he has a prosthetic leg and he had the gun hidden in his prosthetic leg, so there's nothing more we could've done to prevent this."

"He was wanded at the door, the detector went off, he showed people his prosthetic leg, and they let him in," Matthews continued. "What more are you gonna do? You can't deny someone access because they're disabled."

But that story is 100 percent false, according to Darcy Sherman, a Hennepin County public defender who represented Powell.

The gun-in-prosthetic-leg story was "entirely created by Champions," Sherman tells us. "I have seen [Powell's] feet. He absolutely has two legs."

Sherman says she's watched the surveillance video of Stephenson's shooting.

"There's a lot of stuff I can't get into, but the way it's being described is not at all in line with what happens in the video," she says. "I do not see a wand. I don't see anyone being wanded. I see people being pat-searched. Mr. Powell was pat-searched when he came in."

Asked whether Powell brought the gun used in Stephenson's slaying into the bar -- shots rang out after Powell was attacked by another patron -- Sherman says it remains unclear, at least in her judgment.

(For more, click to page two.)

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Erin Burckhard
Erin Burckhard

exactly what I was thinking when I read it. I know wandered is a word, but in the context they are using?

swmnguy topcommenter

I don't think I'd go into a bar that I had to be frisked to enter.

swmnguy topcommenter

@eyetod  What, the pat-down they provided, or the turning around and going someplace else that I would do?

Maybe they should have had people sign release forms.

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