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Drunken argument leads to fatal shooting in Summit County

An argument between two housemates in Summit County ended in gunfire on Thursday.

An argument between two housemates in Summit County ended in gunfire on Thursday. (Shutterstock)

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PARK CITY — A drunken argument between housemates escalated into a fatal shooting in Summit County on Thursday, according to police.

James Kip Ramsdell, 58, of Park City, was arrested and booked into the Summit County Jail for investigation of murder, carrying a weapon while under the influence, illegal discharge of a firearm, intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Ramsdell is accused of fatally shooting John Krieg, 50, of Park City.

Both men lived in a residence in the Highland Estates area, according to the sheriff's office. Ramsdell lived in the upper portion of the residence and Krieg lived in the basement. During the early morning hours on Thursday, the two men got into an argument while drinking alcohol, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. One neighbor reported hearing the men arguing sometime between 4:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., according to a police booking affidavit.

"At some point during the altercation, a small handgun was introduced. The two men exited the home and were arguing. Ramsdell returned to the residence, but Krieg did not," the sheriff's office stated.

About 6:50 a.m., a woman walking her dog spotted Krieg lying on the ground near the residence and called 911. He was pronounced dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the sheriff's office.

The affidavit also noted that Krieg had "numerous injuries to his face to include injuries to his upper and lower lip as well as bruising to his left eye," possibly the result of being in a fight.

While emergency responders were on scene, Ramsdell came out of his home. Deputies say he was still intoxicated and attempted to walk into the crime scene area, the affidavit states. Emergency crews asked Ramsdell to leave and watched as he went back into his home.

When detectives later went to the home to question Ramsdell, they discovered he was still "heavily intoxicated and had a gunshot wound to his left hand, involving two of his fingers," according to the affidavit. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He also commented to police, "Maybe I killed him, I don't know," the affidavit states.

As detectives tried to piece together what happened, they learned that Ramsdell and Krieg had gotten into a fight in the basement of their home. At some point during the fight, Ramsdell was shot while in the basement, possibly because of a self-inflicted wound, according to the affidavit. When investigators later entered the home with a search warrant, they found "a large amount of the blood" on both levels of the residence, the affidavit states.

A third person told police he was with Krieg and Ramsdell when the trio walked outside the home together, according to the affidavit. At one point, Ramsdell told the third man to go back inside. Ramsdell then returned to the home a short time later alone.

"The witness asked James where the victim was and he said he didn't know. The witness then went to look for the victim and found him deceased by the roadway after checking for a pulse," the affidavit states.

The third person told police he was going to call 911 but Ramsdell wouldn't let him and he was too afraid to do it because Ramsdell still had a gun, according to the affidavit.

When interviewed by detectives, Ramsdell "stated he could have shot the victim and that he was being attacked and that is why he would have shot the victim," according to the affidavit. But detectives noted that Ramsdell also gave "numerous inconsistent statements" that did not match the evidence. After questioning Ramsdell, he was arrested and booked into jail.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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