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Person of interest in Wisconsin bar shooting makes 'emphatic' denial in newlywed killings: lawyer

"Person of interest" questioned by police in the fatal shootings of newlyweds Emerson and Gina Weingart in a Wisconsin bar on Feb. 1. No charges have been filed.

A man being detained and questioned in a fatal bar shooting of two newlyweds "had no involvement" in their deaths, his lawyer said. 

Thomas Routt Jr. was handcuffed on Monday in connection with the homicides of Emerson and Gina Weingart, who were killed in a popular local watering hole called Sports Page Barr in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on Feb. 1.  

Prosecutors had not filed any charges against Routt as of Wednesday morning, according to his lawyer, Russell Jones, who was retained on Monday.

Jones told Fox News Digital on Wednesday morning that his client had nothing to do with the Weingarts' murders and is working the case. 

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Gina worked at the bar, and the couple were regular patrons at a place they loved, the same place where they were gunned down shortly after midnight on Feb. 1, police said. 

Routt was not named by police in their latest statement on Feb. 5, when he was officially called a "person of interest," but his lawyer confirmed his identity to Fox News Digital. 

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Routt was "taken into custody on an unrelated matter," as detectives continue their investigation into the fatal bar shooting, police said in a statement. 

He is currently being held in Walworth County Jail on a corrections hold, because of his criminal history that includes arson, burglary and forgery convictions, according to a report by local news outlet TMJ4.

Police have not released any other details or answered Fox News Digital's follow-up questions "to protect the integrity of the investigation." 

There is an important distinction between a "person of interest" and a "suspect." A person of interest is anyone police believe has vital information about a crime, while a suspect is someone law enforcement believes committed a crime.

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The night they were killed, Gina was working at the bar, when police said someone opened fire. Bullets ripped into the couple, and they were pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. 

The owner of the bar posted a heartfelt message on Facebook honoring the young couple and called the shooting "the act of a coward" and changed their photo to include Gina and Emerson surrounded by friends and family. 

"I want to talk about the two lives that were tragically taken from us too soon. Our bartender, Gina, and her husband Emerson, both dear friends of ours," the bar owner posted on Facebook. 

"Their lives were just beginning, and I believe I speak for our entire Sports Page family by saying we are absolutely devastated by what happened. It is a despicable act of violence that has shaken all of us to our core."

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The couple's Facebook pages were filled with pictures of the two of them while enjoying a wide array of activities, including a lot of pictures at Lambeau Field taking in Green Bay Packers games. 

Emerson "was an avid sportsman and learned to fish practically as soon as he could walk," according to their joint obituary. "Fishing was his passion, and his wife Gina was his sidekick on many adventures, learning all his tricks. He was also a sports enthusiast, loving all the Wisconsin teams, especially the Packers."

Gina started dancing when she was 6 years old and continued as a cheerleader through high school and auditioned for a dance group that went on a cruise for a competition, the obit says.

"She loved karaoke and had a great voice. She enjoyed dancing and art," her obit says. "She was a very social person and loved people. When she walked into a room, by the end of the day, she would know everyone. She had a beautiful smile that would light up a room."

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Law enforcement have not said what the motive might have been, or if Emerson and Gina were the intended targets. 

A family member posted on Facebook that it was a "senseless bar robbery" that claimed their lives too early. 

"Emerson would go to the bar after work and hang around while Gina would work to support her as she would work late. They were only married for 9 months, married just this past summer," a cousin, Brittany Weingart, said in a Facebook post. 

Social media posts and comments poured in for the couple, who "became inseparable," since they first got together in 2020. 

"The fact I’m even having to type these words right now is absolutely devastating," one Facebook post from a local who knew the couple says. "I’m heartbroken beyond words and things in our little town and little sports page family will never be the same."

Anyone who may have information is asked to call the Walworth County Communications Center at 262-741-4400. 

You may also remain anonymous and contact Walworth County Crime Stoppers at 262-723-2677 or electronically by using P3 Tips (http://www.p3tips.com). 

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