Nathan Gustavsson was on the witness stand for all of Friday’s proceedings. He was one of the three friends to accompany Allen Scarsella the night he was accused of shooting five Black Lives Matter protesters outside the 4th Minneapolis police precinct on Nov. 23, 2015.
Gustavsson is facing a lesser charge in connection with the shooting, and decided to testify on Scarsella’s behalf against the advice of his own attorney.
According to Gustavsson, he was compelled to testify at Scarsella’s trial, feeling Scarsella saved his life.
He told jurors on Friday that he and his three friends went to the protest intending to show video on a live stream.
Instead, they got into a shouting match with a large group of black men and feared for their lives.
Gustavsson told jurors that it wasn’t until both he and Scarsella were punched in the face that Gustavsson said he saw a man “holding a weapon above Scarsella’s head.”
He added that one of the protesters made a sadistic laugh, “sensing his fear.”
Mere seconds later, Gustavsson testified that Scarsella pulled out his pistol from a shoulder holster and fired off eight shots. Scarsella had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
His gunfire struck five of the men, including the man Gustavsson claimed was threatened them with a shiny weapon, possibly a knife.
Under cross examination, he could not definitively say it was a knife blade.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Judith Hawley asked Gustavsson if Scarsella had mentioned he had a gun.
“No, not at that point,” Gustavsson said.
He did admit that he did not contact police, call 911 or seek emergency medical treatment for the wounds to his face. Gustavsson said that was because they were more worried about fleeing the scene.
Scarsella’s defense attorney asked Gustavsson if he was scared.
“Very. I didn’t know what the future was going to hold,” Gustavsson said.
More defense witnesses are expected to take the stand on Monday, and the case could see closing arguments and deliberations late Tuesday.