- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A disgruntled client shot a law clerk six times in an office above a popular St. Paul restaurant because he was unhappy with how he was being represented in a criminal case, prosecutors alleged in murder charges filed Friday.

Ryan David Petersen, 37, of Woodbury, faces second-degree murder charges in Thursday’s killing of Chase Allen Passauer, 23, of Minneapolis.

Passauer was clerking at North Star Criminal Defense above the prominent W.A. Frost & Co. restaurant in the historic Cathedral Hill neighborhood, and the complaint says two lawyers returned to the office to find Passauer dead in a chair with multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

An attorney with the firm, Daniel Adkins, had just taken over representing Petersen in a case in which he was accused of punching a Woodbury police officer who was arresting him for drunken driving in November.

According to the complaint, Petersen was upset with Adkins, who he thought was ignoring his messages, and sent him a text Thursday afternoon firing him and demanding his money back. But Adkins was in court and could not respond.



A friend of Petersen’s told police he messaged Petersen asking to meet at a bar, but Petersen texted back, saying “No, I just shot my lawyer.” Petersen was arrested after an 11-mile highway chase involving several law enforcement agencies late Thursday near Stillwater. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney on the new charge who could comment on his behalf.

Minneapolis attorney Anthony Bussa previously represented Petersen and said that he had an amicable relationship with Petersen before he switched lawyers.

“It’s crazy to think about,” Bussa said. “I never saw this coming in a million years.”

Court records show Petersen has a violent past with convictions for a drive-by shooting and second-degree assault, first-degree damage to property, fleeing from police and disorderly conduct. Records also show that he was on probation for a drug conviction. Bussa said that based on his criminal history, Petersen was facing a potential prison sentence for the alleged assault on the police officer.

The law firm released a statement mourning the death of Passauer, whose father said he was planning to be a lawyer and wanted to attend the University of Minnesota Law School.

“It is impossible to fathom or understand what happened yesterday at our office. … But we are grieving the loss of an incredible young man with such a bright and promising future. He wasn’t just our employee. He was our friend. Our brother,” the firm said.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide