SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of shooting and killing his friend while they were pretending to be police officers was charged on Wednesday.
In addition to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, Kaden Nathan Christiansen, 18, of Kearns, was charged with drug- and weapon-related offenses. He was charged in 3rd District Court with obstructing justice and two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, both third-degree felonies; and drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors.
On Nov. 21, Roman Karpunin, 16, of Centerville, and his brother went to Christiansen's house to "hang out" with Christiansen and others, according to charging documents.
"At the residence, they drank beer, smoked hookah, watched a movie and played video games. Georgii (Karpunin) stated that he was playing video games in the front room when he heard a gunshot. He was facing away from the kitchen at the time, and when he turned around he saw his brother, Roman, on the floor," the charges state.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to do that (expletive)," Christiansen told Roman Karpunin's brother, according to the charges.
When questioned by police and asked to fill out a statement, Christiansen initially claimed that someone else shot Roman and then ran out of the house, the charges state. Later, he admitted that he, Roman and another boy "were goofing around and acting like they were cops, arresting each other with a handgun that Christiansen had purchased from an unnamed friend two weeks prior," the charges state.
Christiansen told police that Roman was facing away from him, when he pointed the gun at his back and pulled the trigger.
"I was expecting to hear a click," he told police, according to the charges.
Instead, the shot partially severed Roman's spine and went through his aorta and pulmonary artery before exiting his chest, the charges state.
"I didn't mean to," Christiansen told police.
During a search of Christiansen's property, police found marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a 20-gauge shotgun, a .45-caliber bullet believed to be the one that killed Roman, and a 9 mm handgun in a car, according to the charges
Christiansen was arrested and initially bailed out. But prosecutors have now requested he be held in the Salt Lake County Jail on no bail.
"There is clear and convincing evidence that (Christiansen) is a substantial danger to the community if released on bail," a motion for pretrial detention states.
Prosecutors note in their motion for no bail that Christiansen is barely 18, was at a party smoking marijuana, bought a gun from an unnamed friend and didn't even know the caliber of gun he was buying, and then pointed a gun at a friend's back and pulled the trigger.
"These simple facts alone demonstrate (his) lack of care for human life," the motion states.
Prosecutors further state there is evidence that Christiansen tried to scratch off the serial number of his shotgun, according to the motion. And they noted his Facebook page contains pictures of Christiansen posing with firearms and flashing gang signs.
"It appears (Christiansen) is a gang member," the motion states.
In addition to the multiple cellphones and drug paraphernalia found in his room, and the fact he initially lied to police, acceding to the motion, the state believes Christiansen should be held without bail for these reasons.