Bay Area officials said a man fatally shot his friend last month and was convicted of murder after surviving shooting himself in the head.
The suspect, 54-year-old Lance Paulson, was charged with first-degree murder and enhancement for the personal use of a firearm. The incident occurred in 2017 and resulted in the death of the 50-year-old victim, Steve Gagnon.
Police arrested Paulson when they found him inside Gagnon’s home in El Cerrito. Authorities discovered the suspect half-conscious after attempting to kill himself with a gun. Witnesses said that the suspect and victim were lifelong friends.
During Paulson’s preliminary hearing, authorities said the believed motive for the crime was a debt of $20,000. However, the suspect’s attorney said there was no argument between the two friends and no motive for the shooting.
Paulson traveled to the 7400 block of Park Vista in El Cerrito to visit Gagnon. The two were allegedly alone inside the residence when the shooting happened. When the victim’s colleagues showed up when their coworker didn’t come in, they discovered the crime scene.
Inside the home, they found Paulson bloody who invited them inside while still having a gunshot wound through his mouth and out the top of his head. Deputy District Attorney Kabu Adodoadji expressed his gratitude to the El Cerrito police for their help with the case.
“We are gratified that the jury convicted the defendant of first-degree murder. This brings a small measure of comfort and closure to the family of Steve Gagnon,” said Adodoadji. Deputy Public Defender Michell Dawson argued that their client, Paulson, could have defended himself because there were no witnesses during the shooting itself.
“Lance Paulson is a kind and gentle person who had no motive to harm his good friend Mr. Gagnon. We do not believe the evidence supported the verdict and are saddened by the jury’s decision,” Dawson said, East Bay Times reported.