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Van Nuys Man Shot to Death

November 18, 1995

VAN NUYS — A 24-year-old Van Nuys man was fatally shot Friday by his roommate as they played with a pistol they believed was not loaded, Los Angeles police detectives said.

Michael Christopher Cullen and his roommates Randall Eugene Smith, 29, and Dean Zaccaglini, 20, were toying with the .38-caliber pistol about 1:45 p.m. in their apartment in the 14000 block of Oxnard Avenue when Smith put the gun to Cullen's chest and pulled the trigger, LAPD Detective Dan DeJarnette said.

The gun went off, and Cullen died a short time later at Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, he said. Smith was booked on suspicion of murder, and the district attorney's office will decide on whether he will be charged in the death, DeJarnette said.

A detective said suspects are usually arrested on suspicion of murder after accidental shootings and held until prosecutors decide whether they will be charged.

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