Charges: St. Paul man shot wrong man after another pulled knife

A man is facing murder charges after St. Paul police say it appears he shot the wrong man after getting into a fight with someone else.

Payton Wood, 22, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder for allegedly shooting 59-year-old Jeffrey Foss in the head after the late-night altercation last week, according to the criminal complaint. 

On that night, officers received a call around 3 a.m. about a man who was lying on the sidewalk outside a building on the 600 block of Dale Street North. Medics located Foss who had a large amount of blood near his face and an injury to the back of the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the criminal complaint.

During the investigation, surveillance video showed Foss walking on the sidewalk with someone who ultimately got into a fight with Wood. Police say the video shows that Foss' companion had a knife, but Foss was just a bystander during the altercation. During the video, the man with the knife was running down the sidewalk with Foss chasing after him before shots were fired, according to the complaint. 

According to the documents, the video allegedly shows Wood coming around the corner of the building and firing the gun. Foss stumbled forward onto the sidewalk and was later found dead. 

In interviews with police, Wood said he got into a fight with a man who he had found going through some belongings he had left on a picnic table in a garden on Dale Street. During the altercation, Wood said the other man pulled out a knife and swung it at him, according to court documents.

Wood said he and his friend backed away from the man, but he followed them to the truck. He said he thought the man was going to stab him, so he grabbed a gun from the back of his truck. The man then popped one of the tires on the truck and ran away. 

Wood then allegedly fired the gun once. He told investigators the man with the knife was about five feet away from him when he fired the gun, but did not know if he hit him, according to the complaint.

Investigators informed Wood the person he shot wasn’t the man with the knife, and he was further away than five feet. Wood indicated that his version was "how he recalled the incident," the complaint reads.

According to court documents, Wood did not have a permit to carry a firearm. 

Wood’s bail has been set at $2 million. He is scheduled for his first court appearance Friday morning.