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Minn. Bartender Recounts Getting Shot Twice While Doing His Job

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A St. Cloud bartender says he’s lucky to be alive after being shot twice early Saturday morning.

James Gackstetter, 31, was shot just outside of the Press Bar, where he works.

Police later arrested a 24-year-old Cordney Holmes of Mississippi. He is charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Like most weekend nights, the Press Bar was packed just after midnight on Saturday. That’s when bartender Gackstetter noticed two underage women trying to get a drink.

“I asked one of them if they had turned 21 that I didn’t know about. She said ‘yes.’ So I asked for her ID. She said ‘no,’” Gackstetter said.

The women and their friend, Holmes, were asked to leave. Gackstetter followed them out hoping to flag down a police officer.

Once outside, the women and Holmes began yelling and spitting on him.

And then, he said, Holmes took the confrontation to another level.

“The suspect was staring at me,” Gackstetter said. “He said some things to me, and then he fired upon me.”

Gackstetter was shot twice in the abdomen. One of the bullets went through an index finger and ended up in his stomach.

A worker at a nearby bar called 911, and Gackstetter was rushed to the hospital and into emergency surgery.

Afterwards, Gackstetter was told he would make a full recovery, but the shooting will never leave him. Doctors decided to leave both bullets inside of him. They told him removing them would be too risky.

Gackstetter said the support he’s received from friends, first responders, hospital staff, and even complete strangers has helped him pull through.

“Really can’t thank people enough for how awesome it’s been,” he said. “Those people make it easy to deal with this.”

Police recovered a .38-caliber handgun and arrested Holmes three blocks from the shooting.

Doctors told him they don’t know how the bullets didn’t hit vital organs.

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