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Police: Drugs, Alcohol Factors In Fatal Shooting

Kealey Bultena

A 19-year-old Sioux Falls man is dead after a weekend shooting that involved drugs and alcohol. Officers say Mikael Ashame died early Saturday morning from a gunshot wound. The man who shot him is in custody, and authorities arrested another person who owns the gun.

Sioux Falls police officials say they responded to a shooting first as a 911 hang up. Someone said a man shot himself, and another story was a man in a ski mask came in and shot someone. The investigation shows one man is dead following an accidental shooting.

Captain Blaine Larsen says people at the apartment handled an AK47-type rifle.

“David Randle, Jr. – just prior to the incident – had picked it up. They’re all sitting around in the living room area. There's no arguing going on; I think everyone's getting along good. It’s more of a party atmosphere,” Larsen says.

Larsen says the gun accidentally discharged. The shot hit a man across the room in the leg, and he died within minutes because it destroyed a major artery.

Larsen says Randle, 21, is charged with alternate counts of manslaughter. He has three other pending felony charges, including one involving a firearm.

Police Captain Larsen says the shooter and one other person stayed at the apartment to help the victim. He says everyone else fled – with the guns. Larsen says police officers tracked down witnesses and found the gun after someone ditched it.

Larsen says authorities also located the gun owner. Mason Mitzel, 19, barricaded himself in a Brandon basement, and authorities had to respond with SWAT teams before he left the house. Officials discovered 8 lbs of marijuana in brick form, cash, and 81 containers of hash oil in Mitzel’s car. Larsen says the drugs have a street value of $30,000.

“So I think it’s safe to connect the dots on this back to the original shooting and say, as we see in many of these type of cases, drugs were involved, obviously, and alcohol was involved," Larsen says. "We know they were drinking, and we know they were smoking marijuana over there just before the shooting occurred.”

Larsen says Mitzel faces five felony drug charges. He says authorities are determining whether Mitzel legally owns the rifles. Sioux Falls officials say they may file additional charges.