Police are continuing their investigation a murder at a Muskegon party store.
Investigators say a 23-year-old man was shot and killed late Saturday, April 2, outside Sam's Drink All on Getty Street. Family identified the victim as Charlie Cuti.
Brin Aurich, a close friend of Cuti, says she had dinner with him hours before he was murdered. She wrote a letter to him after she learned of his death.
"I am so sorry I couldn't save you," Aurich read. "My heart is so heavy with the guilt."
Aurich says this Sunday was not supposed to be a day of mourning.
"He wanted to change the people he was hanging out with, and he even wanted to go to church with me today," Aurich said. "I consider him like a son, a nephew."
Upon police arrival to the party store, officers found Cuti with an apparent gunshot wound to his torso.
The store's manager says video surveillance captured some of it. He says Cuti was going in and out of another vehicle before he was shot. It appeared the Cuti had two other people in the car with him.
"He came out the second time and just laid down on the ground the other car took off," said the store manager, Steven Abbu.
Michigan State Police records show Cuti had a troubled past. Convictions ranging from retail fraud and assault to most recently malicious destruction of property. Aurich says he had an ongoing battle with drugs.
"Confessed that he's been fighting a demon, and I've been trying to help him," Aurich said.
Aurich says his last dinner was with her the night of the murder.
"He brought over some really nice size steaks, and we had some nice time cooking out on the grill," Aurich said.
Off camera, Cuti's stepmother, Tara Cuti, describes him as a "good, kind, sweet" person. She says he lost his mother at age 11 and it left a void in his life.
Now, Charlie Cuti leaves behind a young daughter.
"I've watched him grow and turn into a father, that's one thing he loved was his daughter," Aurich said.
Police say they are talking to persons of interest, but they are not releasing any information yet on a potential suspect.