A River Falls, Wis., man said he feared for his life when he shot an alleged drug dealer 16 times Tuesday night following a botched deal at the victim's St. Paul residence, according to charges.
Roger Lee Voss III, 23, was charged in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday with second-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm. He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail in connection with the death of 42-year-old Ruben Adrian Paramo.
According to the criminal complaint:
Officers were called just after 9 p.m. to the 2200 block of W. 7th Street on a report of a shooting. While en route, police observed a motorcyclist speeding down 7th, blowing through red lights as he headed toward downtown. Investigators tracked the man to the intersection of 9th and Wacouta Street, where he eventually surrendered. The driver, later identified as Voss, had dried blood on his hands and a loaded .40-caliber Glock in his pocket.
Officers noted that an extra magazine stashed in Voss' jacket had a "deformity consistent with being struck by an object," charges say.
Voss told authorities that he had gone to the Highland Park house that evening to buy drugs from an unknown dealer, but that the man, alleged to be Paramo, attempted to rob him at gunpoint when he arrived. Voss claimed to have wrestled the firearm away from Paramo during a struggle, when he was shot in the finger.
At the crime scene, detectives found signs of a skirmish, along with narcotics and drug paraphernalia. More than a dozen .40-caliber casings littered the floor, where officers also found three 9-millimeter casings. A second firearm was never located.
Witnesses each described hearing a flurry of gunshots coming from the main floor. A woman who lives in the lower unit ran upstairs after hearing the shots and was informed that Paramo had "tried to rob the man on the motorcycle," but both men had handguns, charges say. She was told that Paramo shot at the other man and missed, so he shot back and fled.
An autopsy later determined that Paramo had been struck by gunfire 16 times.
In an interview, Voss told investigators that shortly after he arrived, Paramo struck him in the forehead with a pistol. Paramo shot at him, he said, but the magazine in his pocket stopped the bullet. Voss told police he thought Paramo would kill him, but he did not elaborate on what happened next.
The shooting marks the city's ninth in three days and its 28th homicide this year. Since Sunday, gunfire struck a 24-year-old motorist and sent wayward bullets tearing through the window of 42-year-old homeowner as she folded laundry. An unknown assailant shot two teenagers allegedly selling marijuana from their car. And a rolling gun battle between two vehicles ended only after one crashed and its occupants fled.
"There's been a lot of gunfire in the city the past three days," police spokesman Steve Linders said during a late-night news conference Tuesday. "So something we're addressing, we're working with our partners, and we're asking anyone who knows who is carrying the guns and who is pulling the trigger to call us and let us know. Because it could save a life."