Manslaughter charge: After reporting friend’s suicide, man tells police he accidentally shot him

3 April 2024

After investigators questioned an 18-year-old who reported his friend fatally shot himself in an apartment in St. Paul’s Merriam Park, the teen said he had been the shooter and it was an accident, according to a manslaughter charge filed Tuesday.

Adnan Abdullahi Abdi (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

Omar Noor Nunow, 19, died Monday in the 1900 block of Marshall Avenue.

Officers responded at 2 p.m. to an apartment building after Adnan Abdullahi Abdi reported that Nunow shot himself. They found Nunow deceased in a bedroom and a handgun in a cabinet by the bed.

Abdi told officers that Nunow was his friend from school and he’d spent the night at his apartment.

He said he woke to the sound of a single gunshot and saw Nunow falling to the ground. He checked to see if Nunow was breathing, picked up the gun and put it in the cabinet. He said he moved it because he didn’t want to shoot himself, according to the criminal complaint against him.

A 25-year-old man, who Abdi referred to as Nunow’s uncle and who also stayed at the apartment, told police he got off work at 6 a.m. and was sleeping in the front room. He woke at 1:20 p.m. to get his laundry from the upstairs laundry room.

As he left the apartment, he heard a loud noise and thought it may have come from the second floor. He also thought he heard someone yell, “Uncle, uncle, uncle.” He went to fold his laundry and, when he returned to the apartment, police were there.

The man said that when Nunow’s father is away, Nunow has friends visit the apartment. He said he had seen Nunow and his friends with guns, and heard them playing with the weapons and talking about pointing the guns at each other, according to the complaint.

At police headquarters, investigators told Abdi “that certain aspects of his initial account did not make sense” and asked if gunshot residue testing would show that he’d fired the gun, the complaint said. He “eventually admitted that he had shot (Nunow) by accident.”

Abdi said he’d been sleeping, woke up, and he and Nunow did some online classes. Nunow had the gun and Abdi didn’t realize that he had cocked it, the complaint said. Nunow went to the bathroom and came back into the room.

Abdi said he grabbed the gun, pointed it at Nunow and told him, “Freeze,” the complaint said. Abdi was lying on his side on the bed when he pointed the gun at Nunow. He pulled the trigger, not realizing it was loaded, the complaint continued. The gun fired and Nunow fell to the floor.

An autopsy on Tuesday determined Nunow had been shot in the head and there was no evidence of close-range firing. The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide.

The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Abdi with second-degree manslaughter, alleging Abdi caused Nunow’s death “by culpable negligence which created an unreasonable risk.”

Abdi is due to make his first court appearance Wednesday. An attorney wasn’t listed for him in the court file as of Tuesday.

The death of Nunow comes on the heels of another shooting in St. Paul, in which a 13-year-old allegedly shot an 11-year-old and said she didn’t know the gun she was playing with was loaded. After the child was critically injured Friday night, police arrested the teen, and her uncle is charged with negligent storage of firearms.

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