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Updated at 12:30 p.m. with a statement from a relative.

ST. ANN • A St. Louis man charged with murder Sunday is accused of shooting a man and leaving him to die in the middle of the road outside the airport Marriott hotel, according to St. Ann police.  

Malik Cain, 20, of St. Louis, was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the shooting death Saturday of 19-year-old Trevor Thomas, according to St. Ann police chief Aaron Jimenez.

The altercation began at the Pear Tree Apartment Complex in the 4600 block of Country Lane in St. Ann Saturday morning, Jimenez said. Thomas had arrived at the complex to see his ex-girlfriend, who was in a romantic relationship with Cain, and an argument broke out, Jimenez said. 

Thomas got in his vehicle and was beginning to drive out of the complex as Cain allegedly fired multiple shots at the car, Jimenez said. Thomas was shot between five and eight times, but continued to drive, striking a parked car in the complex parking lot as he attempted to drive away, Jimenez said.

Cain fired 17 shots at the vehicle, court records say. Fifteen of them went through the windshield.

Thomas drove about half a mile out of the complex until he reached a traffic light near the St. Louis Airport Marriott where he fell out of the car and collapsed in the road, Jimenez said. The car continued moving and eventually crashed into a ravine on the side of the road. 

Police were called about 7 a.m. Saturday and Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police said Cain admitted to investigators that he shot Thomas, though he argued he did so in self-defense, Jimenez said. Court documents said Cain told police he threw the gun in a river and abandoned his car.

"The victim was driving away, so that's not a self-defense shooting," Jimenez said.

The police chief added: "The thing that irritates me as a police chief and as a human being the most was that when the victim was laying on the ground (Cain and his girlfriend) drove by and didn’t render aid or stop at all. It's senseless."

Te'Andra West, who identified herself as a cousin of Thomas, described him as "sweet" and "very funny." 

"I just feel like he didn't deserve that," West said. "I feel like it was really unfair, and then he was laid out in the street. He was a really nice kid, playful, sweet, and anybody who came into contact with him, he made smile and laugh. He was very loving."

Erin Heffernan is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.