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Minn. man killed in what mother says was accidental shooting

Justin Finklea

ST. PAUL -- A  Forest Lake man was shot dead in a home in St. Paul on Wednesday night, and police have made an arrest in the case.

Police were called about 11 p.m. Wednesday to the report of a shooting in the lower level of a duplex where officers found a man with an apparent gunshot wound, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.

Officers rendered aid until St. Paul Fire Department paramedics took over, but the man died at the scene, Linders said.

Police have not yet confirmed the victim’s identity, but Cristy Finklea said it was her son, 25-year-old Justin Finklea, a father of two from Forest Lake.

Cristy Finklea reported that her son and his friend were drinking and playing with a gun. She said the shot was accidental and Finklea died quickly. Initial emergency radio traffic indicated Finklea was shot under his arm.

“I feel bad because I know it was an accident, he didn’t mean to do it,” she said. “It could have very easily been my son in jail, and the other way. I feel very bad for his family and all the stuff they have to go through. I wouldn’t press charges against him at all.”

Officers arrested a man who had been in the duplex. Joel Andrew Paulson, 31, of Stacy, Minn., was booked into the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of murder.