The man accused in Monday’s fatal shooting in the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood has a terminal illness and referenced that as his relationship with the victim grew increasingly hostile, according to court records.
“I hope he realizes I only have about a year left to live, and all I’ve done the last four months is collect guns,” Brian Ross Shaw allegedly messaged the mother of his children days before he fatally shot his longtime acquaintance Kevin Weiss, according to a criminal complaint filed on Thursday in 6th Judicial District Court.
Shaw, 34, now of Hibbing, was formally charged in front of Judge Eric Hylden on Thursday with second-degree felony manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Weiss, 35, of Duluth. If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
St. Louis County prosecutors had asked for Shaw to be held on $200,000 bail. Public defender John Lind objected to that amount, stating that Shaw likely would argue he was acting in self-defense, that he had no previous felony convictions, that he couldn’t possibly meet the terms of a $200,000 bail, and citing Shaw’s terminal illness. Shaw has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to the complaint.
Lind asked that Shaw be referred to the intensive pretrial release program and, if there were bail, that it be set at $50,000. Hylden agreed to the referral, meaning that if the probation department agrees to accept Shaw for the program, he will not have to post bail. If bail is required, it will be set at $75,000, Hylden ruled.
The criminal complaint against Shaw depicts a situation involving three adults spiraling out of control.
According to the complaint, Shaw had lived with a woman in Gary-New Duluth for a number of years and had three children with her. After they separated in May, Shaw moved to Hibbing. Weiss - who “grew up together” with Shaw - then began a relationship with the woman, but court documents say she had kicked him out of the house on Monday afternoon.
Weiss later returned to collect his belongings and broke a window in the home, according to the woman, who had said she wanted no contact with him. She was in contact with Shaw, who acknowledged to police that he had also talked to Weiss and told him he had a shotgun. But he denied making threats.
According to a forensic analysis of a cellphone Shaw used, Shaw sent Weiss a text at 1:26 p.m. with the message, “But you and your s- better be gone when I get there cuz you’re not going to like what happens.” Weiss responded with “bring it,” and then Shaw with, “Sounds good buddy.”
Further examination of phone records showed that Shaw had been expressing “extreme hostility” toward Weiss in the days leading up to Monday, according to the complaint. That included the mention of collecting guns.
Shaw told investigators that he brought an uncased pistol-grip Mossberg shotgun with him to the residence. He said that when he arrived, he encountered Weiss outside, and that Weiss threw a container at him. Shaw said Weiss yelled at him and eventually pushed him. He said he stumbled backward and fell and the gun discharged. But the medical examiner’s preliminary report found the slug’s trajectory didn’t match that account, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, when Duluth police Lt. Tim Jazdzewski arrived at the residence after 6 p.m. on Monday he found someone applying chest compressions to a man who was on the ground. The man, later identified as Weiss, had a “devastating wound to his front lower abdomen.” Gold Cross Ambulance personnel arrived but were unable to save Weiss’ life, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
An omnibus hearing for Shaw was set for Jan. 4.