LISTEN TO 911 CALLS: Court records describe strained relationship between cousins involved in deadly Fargo shooting
FARGO – Christopher Hampton, the man accused of killing his roommate in north Fargo on June 26, called police twice that day: once in the morning to claim he’d been poisoned, and again that night to say he shot Randall Doehner because Doehner pulled a pistol on him, court records and a 911 call show.
Doehner and his fiancée, Stefani Desjarlais, moved into Hampton’s apartment at 111 7th Ave. N. a few weeks before the shooting, and records obtained Wednesday suggest that Hampton and the couple had a strained relationship since the move-in, with Hampton claiming he was being poisoned and the couple considering moving out.
By 8:36 p.m. on June 26, the tension culminated in the fatal shooting of Doehner, 28, near the entrance to their shared home, while Desjarlais and her son were downstairs.
Two 911 calls
Immediately after the shooting, Hampton, 24, called 911 and told a dispatcher that he shot Doehner after Doehner tried killing him first.
“I saw him try to pull the trigger or something and a piece fell off of it,” he told dispatch while panting heavily. “I knocked it out of his hand … the gun fell on the floor and I picked it up, we fought for it, and I ended up shooting him.”
Doehner was shot twice, once in the back and once in the back of the head, a June 27 autopsy showed.
Hampton then dropped the pistol and left the home because he said he was afraid that Desjarlais, who was downstairs, was armed with a shotgun.
Desjarlais called 911 after hearing gunshots and finding her dying fiance.
“He ran away; shot him and threw the gun at him and ran away,” she told dispatch. “Chris Hampton did this,” she later said, between tears.
“They’re trying to … kill me, man,” Hampton told dispatch. “I don’t think he was gonna shoot me, but he was threatening me, he had it pointed at me and he pulled the trigger.”
Desjarlais told police she and Doehner thought about moving out of the apartment, and Hampton rambled about the living situation to the dispatcher.
Hampton said that as Doehner pointed the gun at him, Doehner “said I told you, if you tried to kick me out of here, … I’d have this house to myself.”
“I just tried to start moving out of the way before he shot me,” Hampton continued. “I didn’t know what to do, I just blacked out when I saw a gun in my face and I saw his finger move.”
Police soon arrived and detained him.
Hampton and Doehner were cousins who attended the same high school in rural Tennessee and both later worked at Strom Engineering Corp. in Hopkins, Minn., before making their way to Fargo.
But signs of their fraying relationship include Hampton going to police on at least two occasions claiming he was being poisoned. Desjarlais told police that Hampton believed Doehner was the one poisoning him.
Two days before the shooting, police accompanied Hampton to Sanford Medical Center where he was tested for poisoning. The results showed no signs of poison and instead came back positive for amphetamines and THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to a court affidavit.
Hampton again complained to police at 4:07 a.m. the morning of the shooting about being poisoned. Officers met with Hampton, and noted he had a history of using amphetamines and marijuana.
During a later interview, while Hampton was detained after the shooting, “a large scarred area on his right elbow” and “yellow, rotting teeth” indicated that he used narcotics and methamphetamines, Detective Christopher Mathson wrote in a court affidavit.
Police seized two pipes, a paper bindle with a white powdery substance and a rolled $20 bill with white powder from the house Saturday. A judge also approved a warrant to take a blood sample from Hampton to determine whether narcotics or psychoactive chemicals were in his system.
‘I’m still in shock’
Family and friends of the victim and the man accused of killing him have registered their sadness and shock on social media since the incident.
Doehner’s Facebook page was filled with messages wishing him “R.I.P.”
“This has my heart broken right now,” Elissa Richardson posted on Friday. “I done cried and cried and don’t know how to stop.”
“Will miss you greatly my brother,” Jared Kilburn wrote Wednesday. “All the good times we had growing up.”
Chandra Painter, Hampton’s girlfriend, said she was “still in shock” in an interview over Facebook on Wednesday.
Painter said she and Hampton have two children, a 1-year-old and 5-week-old. In a brief phone interview, she said the two used to live together but she moved out about four weeks ago.
Perhaps most movingly, a woman who appeared to be Doehner’s mother posted a message on his page.
“Hey baby boy, this is your mom,” Rendy Rumbaugh wrote. “You are the most amazing son in the world. You always knew how to make me smile and you always made me laugh so much. I’m going to miss you very much.”
But she had one question.
“All I want to know is why Chris Hampton! Why did you take my baby boy away from me?”