One Walmart employee was killed and another was wounded after a 21-year-old airman shot them in the Grand Forks store on Tuesday. He then claimed his life by shooting himself.
Marcell Willis, who was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base (where 3000 Air Force personnel and civilians work), also shot a third employee, but missed, before turning the gun onto himself.
Andy Legg, one of the shoppers in the store when the shooting occurred, told CNN affiliate WDAY that three or four shots were fired just after 1 a.m., which caused mayhem around the store and people began screaming and scampering.
He said, “Just replaying it in my head it’s still kind of hard to grasp.”
According to NBC News, the deceased individual was identified by the police as Gregory Weiland, 70, from Grand Forks. The injured victim was Lisa Braun, 47, also from Grand Forks.
Altru Hospital spokeswoman Angie Laxdal said that Braun was in satisfactory condition. However, no timeline for her release has been given.
Lt. Derik Zimmel said the identification of the third individual Willis shot but missed had not been released by the authorities.
Zimmel further said that no connection has been established between the shooter and the victims or the Walmart store. He added that the shooting seems to have been a random incident.
He said that “there are likely more questions than answers” as to why Willis entered the store at 1 a.m. and started shooting.
According to Yahoo News, police say Willis arrived to the North Dakota Walmart store in a car with two other individuals. Zimmel said that the people who accompanied Willis remained inside the car when the 21-year-old United States airman went inside and opened fire.
Whether Willis was on drugs or alcohol will be deduced after an autopsy. Not certain as to when the autopsy results will be disclosed, Zimmel said, “It’s probably the next significant development in this case.”
Amy Mehs, Willis’ girlfriend, said, “I really can’t say anything right now because it’s still under investigation.
“You guys will find out everything eventually.”
Willis had been in the military for three years, his father Sean Willis of Nashville, Tennessee, said. Willis was originally from Springfield, Tennessee.
Mayor Michael Brown said that the incident came as a shock for the town of 55,000 residents.
He said, “I can’t remember anything this tragic in our community and that’s why I think it’s so shocking to happen like this.”
Eddy Eley of Grand Forks, agreeing with the mayor, said, “This happens in cities, big cities, not here and to know a couple people are gone because of it is devastating. I don’t want to ever see that happen here again.”
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