A 29-year-old man from Fergus Falls was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man in northwestern Minnesota.
Michaelray Ericthomas Mason told authorities that he shot the victim a half-dozen times because the man was coming after him, according to a criminal complaint filed in Becker County District Court.
The two men, who had been staying at Mason’s mother’s home in Audubon for several days, were drinking Tuesday afternoon when they got into an argument.
Mason told investigators that the victim, whom authorities have not identified, was drunk and verbally combative. Mason said he went into a bedroom to get away but that the door would not lock. The victim opened the door, entered the room and “came at him,” he said.
Mason first told authorities that the man came at him with arms extended and said he was going to hurt Mason. In an interview a day later, Mason told authorities that the man’s fists were clenched by his side and that he was reaching for a knife.
Mason, who had retrieved his mother’s .38-caliber pistol from a box in the bedroom, told authorities he had no choice but to shoot the man. “I didn’t mean to kill him,” he told a woman on the phone, according to the complaint.
The woman told authorities that Mason had called her in a panic shortly before the shooting. The woman recalled Mason saying, “If he keeps coming after me, I’m going to have to shoot him.”
Mason also is charged with possessing a firearm though he’s prohibited from doing so. He was adjudicated for assault while a juvenile in 2004 and convicted in 2013 of a controlled substance crime.