NEW: Altercation over parking spot led to fatal Winona shooting - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

NEW: Altercation over parking spot led to fatal Winona shooting

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Ricky Darnell Waiters Ricky Darnell Waiters
Winona, MN (WXOW) - -

A confrontation regarding a parking spot outside a Winona bar leads to a fatal shooting according information released Thursday.

Criminal charges were filed against a Winona man accused of firing the handgun that also wounded another man in the same incident early Wednesday morning.

Ricky Darnell Waiters, 49, is charged with 2nd Degree Murder and 2nd Degree Assault for the drive-by shooting outside EB's Corner bar at 700 West 5th Street shortly after 1 a.m. A Drive-by Shooting charge was also filed against Waiters.

The criminal complaint said that several people were standing outside the bar when a vehicle pulled into the parking lot. One of the witnesses confronted the driver, later identified as Waiters, about where the vehicle was parked. The witness said Waiters then drove out of the parking lot. When he was even with the witness and several other people, Waiters fired several shots from a handgun at them from the vehicle. 

The witness said another person pulled him back into the bar as the shooting occurred. When the witness came back out, he found one person lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest. The witness provided first aid to the man, 53-year-old Robert Charles Johnson, until law enforcement arrived. The complaint said the officer later couldn't find a pulse on Johnson 

Both Johnson and another man who was wounded in the leg by gunfire, Sean O'Brien, 27, were taken to Community Memorial Hospital.

Johnson was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Based on witness statements, police determined that Waiters was a suspect and that his vehicle matched the description of the vehicle involved in the shooting. Later that morning, an officer found Waiter's vehicle parked on the street near Waiter's last known address. When the officer looked through the window of the 1994 Geo Tracker, he saw two spent shell casings and an empty handgun holster.

Police said that once they found where Waiters was located, nearby apartments were evacuated. Members of the county's Emergency Response Team arrested Waiters as he left his apartment just before 7 a.m.

A search by police found a .40 caliber handgun in Waiter's apartment. When investigators searched the vehicle, they found six spent .40 caliber shell casings.

During a court appearance Thursday morning in Winona, bail for Waiters was set at $5 million.

The high amount, according to Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman, was due to the risk that Waiters posed to the community and his past actions. She told WXOW that while there were no official convictions, there were several incidents in the past few years. Most recently, Sonneman said, there was an incident in May where Waiters reportedly pointed his hands at someone as if they were a gun and said 'Bang'.

The murder charge against Waiter carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. 

The owner of EB's said Waiters visited the bar "sporadically," but that Johnson and O'Brien were regulars at the bar. He said Johnson was a "very peaceful man" who didn't get into fights at the bar.


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