A St. Paul man has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a man early Friday in the city’s West Seventh neighborhood.
St. Paul police on Monday identified the victim as James M. Cannon Jr., 32, of St. Paul.
The alleged shooter, identified as 28-year-old Nathan Sims, remained in the Ramsey County jail Monday, according to charges filed in Ramsey County District Court.
The charging document says Cannon went to a home on the 1000 block of Otto Street on Friday night to meet his girlfriend. He was talking with another man outside the residence when they heard a voice, then a gunshot. Cannon dropped to the sidewalk and yelled, “He shot me,” then fled. Officers found Cannon nearby on the 700 block of S. Lexington Parkway with a gunshot wound to the chest. Cannon was taken to Regions Hospital where he later died, the charges said.
The shooting, but not the shooter, was caught on surveillance video, the charges say. A man who lived at the residence also told investigators that he heard the gunshot and although he didn’t see it, he said he “had a pretty good idea what happened,” the charges say.
The man told investigators that Sims had obtained a gun a few days before the shooting and he had seen Sims with the gun in the house an hour before the incident. He did not report any arguing before the shooting.
“Sims either got antsy or trigger-happy,” the resident said. He said he confronted Sims, who denied shooting Cannon, the charges say.
Another man who was at the residence at the time told police that “there was no fighting, no words exchanged, or anything — just bam!” Before the shooting, the man had given Sims a ride to the home on Otto Street. He said Sims kept pulling a handgun out of his waistband and it made him feel “uneasy.”
Sims told investigators that on the night of the shooting, he was asleep when someone woke him because someone was outside. The person outside was a black man who said he was looking for his girl, Sims said. Sims said he opened the door and heard a gunshot, then closed and locked the door, the charges say.
Sims denied having a handgun in the house and claimed he had a paintball gun. Officers found a shell casing at the scene and a Glock 9mm handgun in a row of bushes about 30 feet north of the Otto Avenue residence. The Glock’s chamber held a round of ammunition with the same ammo type as the recovered shell casing.
When officers told Sims they planned to test his hands for gunshot residue, Sims said he had fired a Colt .44 in the air at a friend’s house Tuesday night, the charges say.
Sims has four felony convictions: two for a felon in possession of a firearm, domestic assault by strangulation and third-degree assault. Sims is also awaiting sentencing on separate violations of an order for protection in Ramsey County.
The medical examiner ruled Cannon’s death a homicide.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768