A Stacy, Minn., man was drunk and playing with a handgun when he shot and killed his friend, according to a criminal charge filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court.
Josh Andrew Paulson, 31, faces a second-degree manslaughter charge in connection with the death of 25-year-old Justin Finklea, a father of two. Paulson, Finklea and another friend were drinking at a St. Paul apartment Wednesday, where a witness said Finklea was playing with a handgun, popping the magazine in and out and waving it at the television. The witness said he looked down at his phone, heard a gunshot and looked up.
Finklea told Paulson, “You [expletive] shot me,” before collapsing on the floor, according to the charge.
When police came to the apartment they found Finklea with a gunshot wound to the lower torso and not breathing. He could not be revived.
The witness told police that Paulson told him he shot the victim after the two were “[expletive] around” with the gun and did not know there was a bullet in the chamber.
As Paulson and the roommate were later sitting in the back of a squad car, Paulson asked the witness, “Why would you have one in there?” and said, “I aimed at the door not even at him,” according to the complaint.
When police interviewed Paulson, he initially said he got nervous when Finklea was waving the gun around and tried to take it by grabbing his wrist and turning the gun toward him when the shot was fired. But the investigator told Paulson it would be physically impossible for him to turn the victim’s wrist in such a way that a bullet would hit the victim’s torso. “The defendant then acknowledged that he may have taken the gun away from [the victim] and that he alone was holding the gun when it went off,” according to the complaint.
Paulson’s blood alcohol level was .025 4½ hours after the shooting. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Finklea’s two sons, Braydin and Blakey, at gofundme.com/Justins-Kids.