Chad Nelson and Rayontra McCall had only just met.
The two were playing poker in a tournament last Thursday at Willy’s Bar in Coon Rapids when McCall’s uncle accused Nelson of cheating. Nelson vehemently denied it. The men argued, with tempers flaring to the point that bar employees had to step in and talk them down.
McCall, his uncle and Nelson stayed at Willy’s till close. As they converged at the door, McCall’s uncle demanded an apology from Nelson for the way he acted earlier in the night. Witnesses say Nelson declined, climbed into his car and veered back around to where McCall was standing with his uncle.
McCall ran up to the driver’s side of Nelson’s car, reached through the window and punched him in the face. At the exact same time, according to Coon Rapids police, Nelson pulled out a gun and pumped two rounds into McCall’s chest. A third round struck his hand. McCall stumbled back and fell to the ground.
The 29-year-old was taken to the hospital, where he died shortly after.
By the time the cops arrived, a crowd had formed around McCall’s body. A credit card receipt left at the bar led investigators to Nelson, whom they arrested at the VA Hospital a few hours after the shooting. Nelson told police he’d been attacked and punched in the head. His father, who’d accompanied him to the hospital, allegedly explained that Nelson had shot a guy who was rushing him.
When police searched Nelson’s car, they found a semi-automatic handgun with two missing rounds, according to the criminal complaint. Nelson did not have a permit to carry.
He’s now booked in the Anoka County Jail, charged with murder in the second degree with bail set at $750,000.
“This was an angry incident that escalated to lethal violence,” said Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo. “It is senseless that a life was lost because of a poker game.”
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