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Man, 19, arrested in shooting death of USF St. Petersburg student

Owen Melin was shot while visiting friends May 27 at a home west of downtown.

ST. PETERSBURG — Police arrested a St. Petersburg man Tuesday in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Owen Melin during a home invasion in May near the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus.

Joshua Pilley Jr., 19, faces a charge of felony murder, according to a news release issued by St. Petersburg police Tuesday. Detectives are searching for information on two other men who were in the apartment when the shooting occurred.

Pilley was arrested after detectives found his fingerprints at the crime scene, according to court documents. Police also found five 9 mm bullet casings in the apartment.

Related: USF St. Petersburg mourns student killed in home invasion near campus

Court records give this account:

Melin, a student at USF St. Petersburg, was visiting friends May 27 west of downtown. Around 10 p.m., he was fatally shot while visiting an apartment home at 458 4th Ave. S. He was a psychology major who transferred to the university after earning his associate degree from St. Petersburg College.

A witness told police he and two others were hanging out together outside the home when a shirtless man elater identified as Pilley approached them and asked to see a man inside with Melin. Pilley then walked toward an alley at the back of the apartment, talking on his phone.

About 10 minutes later, Pilley came back with two other men. He pointed a rifle at the three men standing outside the apartment, telling them to get on the ground. He held the three at gunpoint, demanded the door code and entered the apartment with the two men he brought.

The man they were looking for was in the bathroom. One of the men who forced their way into the home stole the man’s phone and money from his pockets. At the same time, the victim heard gunshots coming from the kitchen and found Melin on the floor there with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Melin was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:15 p.m.

Pilley was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday and was being held without bond.

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