By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Life in prison without the possibility of parole — that’s the sentence a Ramsey County judge handed down to Ryan David Petersen, the man who gunned down Chase Passauer inside a St. Paul law office earlier this year.

“They didn’t talk — it was an ambush. He came in here and destroyed him, and he turned around and walked out,” said Dan Adkins, an attorney at the law office where Passauer was shot.

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Petersen was convicted of premeditated murder and being a felon in possession of a handgun. Dan Adkins was Petersen’s intended target. He spoke about the life lost and how he plans to honor him moving forward.

“Every person that interacted with Chase any length of time was convinced that they had a unique and special relationship with him, that he was a best friend,” Adkins said.

Adkins says Chase Passaeur was unlike anyone he had ever met.

“He has that touch — he can talk to, he can connect with, he can engage with anybody,” Adkins said.

Adkins says Chase basically ran the law office in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood.

“I’m sitting in the almost exact position where I lost that boy,” Adkins said.

He says Chase was there alone on April 7, the day Ryan Petersen walked in, looking for Adkins.

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“He walked through this door — and this was originally a reception area. Chase was seated at a desk behind this window — this large plate glass,” Adkins said. “At least one shot was fired here and then Ryan walked four steps, and he just stands right here and he destroys my boy for nothing.

“I came in that door down the hall when I heard and I ran right through and I saw him,” Adkins added. “I did CPR but I never got him close.”

Adkins says it is easy to recall all the great things Chase did for people.

“He found a way to keep everybody’s interest primary, and in focus, so that he could advance your cause,” Adkins said.

It brings him to tears to think about the things Chase will not be able to do.

“The children he didn’t have, the kids that he couldn’t actually firsthand raise — because he was certainly raising mine,” Adkins said. “He taught my boy how to snowboard. He taught my little boy endless things. He keeps drawing pictures of him. He can’t let it go, and I don’t want him to.”

Adkins says no one will ever forget the impact Chase had on every one he met.

“We’re going to struggle a long time,” Adkins said.

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Adkins is working with Chase’s family and the University of Minnesota to create scholarships in his honor. He wants to see an academic scholarship for students who take part in club baseball — since Chase was an advocate for the program and an umpire — and the law school.

Reg Chapman