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A St. Paul man has been charged, accused of fatally shooting a man who lived in an adjoining duplex, saying he "beat him to the draw."

Brandis Junton Wells, 34, of St. Paul, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Dec. 28, 2021, killing of 31-year-old Jarrell R. Kirk of St. Paul. 

According to charges, Wells and Kirk lived in different units of the same duplex but didn't get along. On the night of the shooting, the two were fighting when Wells said Kirk threatened to kill him, with Wells later telling police he "just beat him to the draw."

The charges

According to the criminal complaint, police responded to a "chaotic" scene at a duplex on the 500 block of Blair Avenue at about 10:15 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2021, where they found Kirk lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound. 

Kirk was taken to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead, charges said. The medical examiner said he died of a gunshot wound that entered his upper left arm and re-entered his left torso. He also had multiple contusions to his head and face.

Kirk lived in the upper unit of the duplex with his father, his brothers and his girlfriend, the complaint said. Wells lived in the lower unit. 

Police learned Kirk had been in conflict with Wells because Kirk's ex-girlfriend had left him to date Wells. And the ex-girlfriend would antagonize Kirk, which fueled the conflict between Kirk and Wells, the complaint said. 

On the night of the shooting, Kirk and the ex-girlfriend got into a shouting match that led to the people in the lower unit cutting the electricity to Kirk's unit, charges said. 

Kirk then went downstairs with a gun (he had a permit to carry) and then his father heard gunshots and went to see what was going on, seeing his son on the ground. He believed Kirk had been shot and so he ran in the house to put shoes on and then went downstairs, to see Wells shoot Kirk in the chest. 

One of the first officers on the scene saw a man leave out the back of the house, charges said. Wells' brother said Wells ran out the back door but didn't know where he went. 

Wells was on the run for five days before turning himself in to police on Jan. 3, the St. Paul Police Department said.

Wells told investigators he and Kirk didn't get along and admitted to turning off the power to Kirk's unit, charges said. He claimed Kirk came downstairs with a gun and threatened to kill him and they got into a fight. 

Wells grabbed his own gun when the two were outside and said Kirk was pointing his gun at him, the complaint said.

"I just beat him to the draw," Wells said, according to charges. "I thought he was going to live." 

"I didn't mean to kill that dude," he added, the complaint says.

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