A 22-year-old St. Paul man has been charged in the August shooting death of a friend during a night of drinking at the victim’s home in St. Paul Park, according to a complaint.
Bernard Poston Jr. was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Regino Nitti, 20. The shooting happened Aug. 10 at Nitti’s apartment in the 1100 block of 5th Street, near Oltman Middle School. According to police, Poston, Nitti and two other friends had been “drinking, talking and watching television” at the time of the shooting.
Sometime after midnight, Poston reached for the .12 gauge Mossberg shotgun Nitti kept stashed in his closet. Poston later told police he thought the gun was unloaded when he pointed it in his friend’s direction, according to a criminal complaint filed in Washington County District Court on Oct. 3.
As he did so, the weapon discharged, he said, striking Nitti in the shoulder. Poston tried to stop the bleeding, he told investigators, until Nitti “began spitting up blood, bleeding all over at which point the defendant then left making no attempt to call 911 or getting other help,” the complaint said.
Nitti was pronounced dead after authorities arrived, according to the complaint.
His death was initially ruled an accident, but after interviewing Poston and two other witnesses, authorities decided to proceed with charges.
Authorities said Poston was issued a summons to appear in court on Oct. 24.
“We hope that Regino’s death will help people understand that gun safety is extremely important,” Nitti’s sister Sophia Moreno said in an e-mailed statement to the Star Tribune shortly after his death.