(SS) Dramatic video taken outside a popular Wilton Manors bar shows two men arguing before one pulls out a gun, threatening the other.
After taking out the weapon, he holds it behind his back while continuing to lob expletives at the other man.
Patrons at the bar didn’t know if they were about to see a shooting.
“Who knows what he would’ve done,” said one witness who would only give his name as Andrew. “I don’t know what his intent was.”
A second video shows the accused gunman being taken out of the bar in handcuffs by several police officers while others cheer and clap, some derisively yelling “Let’s go, Brandon!” in reference to his shirt, which was emblazoned with the word “Brandon.” Among conservatives, the name has become a way to insult President Joe Biden.
Kenneth Justesen, a 45-year-old Wilton Manors man, was arrested Friday night and faces several charges.
Video showed him arguing with several people outside Gym Sports Bar, a popular bar in Wilton Manors, a historically LGBT-friendly city near Fort Lauderdale. Wilton Manors Police said it all went down around 10 p.m. Friday.
Anthony Robinson, 35, was the person who recorded that video on his phone. Once he saw Justesen pull out the gun, he stopped recording and called 911. He said Wilton Manors officers arrived within minutes.
Once Justesen pulled out his gun, Robinson said the first thing that went through his head was “someone getting shot; Whether it be [the man he was arguing with] or an innocent bystander.”
That video contains explicit language.
In the video and according to witnesses, Justesen said that he had the right to defend himself. But even before that video started, Justesten was antagonizing and threatening people while digging through the trash to search for his phone, according to Robinson.
“He had lost his phone and was very upset about that, so we went around making comments that whoever had his phone was going to get a bullet in the back of their head, that he would [explicit word] them up, and the other gentleman was saying, ‘don’t say that, it’s just a phone,’” Robinson said.
Andrew said he was trying to calm the guy down, especially after Justesen began antagonizing several women outside the bar. He didn’t see Justesen holding the gun behind his back, and only learned that the man was armed after other people there told him.
He said he wasn’t fazed.
“I’ve seen a lot worse. I’m from Queens, New York,” said Andrew, who works nearby and had gone out with friends. “I just wanted to keep my cool. He was saying all this aggressive stuff. Now that I see the video, I think, ‘Wow, I didn’t notice that.’”
Justesen’s gun was loaded, according to investigators, who went on to say he was intoxicated and “approaching patrons in the bar in a belligerent manner.”
A recent rise in crimes against members of the LGBT community, both locally and internationally, led Robinson, Andrew and other witnesses interviewed to just be grateful no one was hurt.
That same night, two people were killed and at least 10 others were injured in a mass shooting at a gay bar in Oslo, Norway.
June is Pride Month, an international celebration of LGBT Pride.
Justesen has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a felony; improper exhibition of a firearm, a misdemeanor; and possession of a firearm while under the influence, a misdemeanor. If convicted of the felony, he would lose his right to lawfully own guns and a concealed weapons permit.
Justesen bonded out of the Broward County Jail on a $7,500 bond Sunday, according to jail records.
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