Antwone Cousins

Antwone Counsins, April booking photo

Manchester police discovered a hidden stolen handgun outside of DraftKings Sportsbook shortly after a near-fatal shooting in the parking lot last week, prosecutors said Thursday, disclosing a fact that could bolster the alleged shooter’s self-defense claims.

The information surfaced during a bail hearing for Antwone Cousins, 39, who faces a first-degree assault and weapon-possession charge in connection to the April 19 shooting outside DraftKings Sportsbook, 1279 S. Willow St.

The stolen gun was hidden in a wheel well of a parked vehicle, and one witness said it appeared that the shooting victim, Marquis Anderson, 38, was reaching for his waist before he was shot.

“Mr. Cousins could have been reacting to a very real threat to his life,” said his lawyer, Hannah Roberts.

It appears that the gun was used to fire at least one round. Either a casing or projectile — Hillsborough County prosecutor Alex Gatzouli was unsure which — was found in the area.

“That piece is probably the most significant piece in my mind,” said Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Will Delker, discussing the gun.

Delker ordered that Cousins continue to be held under preventive detention, noting that as a convicted felon Cousins was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

But Delker ordered an evidentiary hearing in the case, saying he wasn’t going to wait for Roberts to request one.

“There’s a lot of questions here that need to be explored,” Delker said.

According to Manchester police, Anderson remains hospitalized.

DraftKings Sportsbook is located inside a former multiplex and includes Filotimo Casino and Restaurant, a bingo hall, the South Side Tavern and a room for poker and table games.

Shortly after the shooting, Sportsbook owner Dick Anagnost said he was going to beef up security and announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the incident.

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