Man sentenced for 2011 shooting at Waconia bar

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced that Michael Gregory Peterson, age 34 of Waconia, was sentenced by Judge Richard Perkins in Carver County District Court on March 28 on assault charges related to an incident at Hopper’s Bar in 2011.
The case stems from an incident that occurred on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, when Peterson was at Hopper’s Bar in downtown Waconia. Peterson had a permit to carry and was carrying a small, loaded .380 pistol in his pocket. Prior to arriving at the bar with friends, Peterson was drinking alcoholic beverages while ice fishing. In addition, Peterson had taken prescribed pain medications for a pre-existing injury.
Peterson became intoxicated and allegedly without provocation threw a drink into the face of another patron at the bar. An employee saw the incident and asked Peterson to leave. Peterson resisted and was physically escorted out of the bar.
Once outside the bar, Peterson turned toward the bar, drew his pistol and fired several shots back toward the employee. The employee was not shot, but at least one bullet struck the front of the building near the employee. Peterson was arrested at the scene a short time later.
The Carver County Attorney’s Office argued for a 36-month prison term because of the serious nature of the violent crime and the fact that a firearm was used against an innocent person merely trying to do his job. The prosecution argued that the fact that the defendant was intoxicated was not an excuse.
Judge Perkins ultimately agreed with the serious nature of the offense, but also cited the fact that Peterson had no other criminal record, was remorseful, and the Minnesota Department of Corrections finding that Peterson was amenable to probation. Perkins pronounced a 36-month sentence but stayed the prison term for 7 years on the conditions that Peterson serve 1-year in the Carver County Jail, undergo a mental health assessment, have no use of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, remain law abiding, not possess guns or ammunition, write a letter of apology to the employee, and pay a $3,085 fine.