Suspect identified in Grand Forks Walmart shooting

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. We're learning more about 21-year-old Marcell Willis, who opened fire at a Grand Forks Walmart leaving an entire community in shock. Police told us Marcell Willis shot and killed one person, injured another, then took his own life.

At this point, police are still trying to figure out a motivate behind this shooting. Willis was an active duty Grand Forks airman. Altru hospital says the surviving victim in "satisfactory" condition tonight.

We reached out to family members and friends of Willis. They didn't want to comment. However, we were able to talk to several community members who said they knew Willis well.

One man, a worker on the air force base told Valley News Live that Willis was always friendly and polite, but overall kept to himself. He adds it's an action he would not have predicted from Willis. In fact, they recently went to a mandatory suicide prevention class together.

Willis is originally from Tennessee. He was on the Robertson County School System's football team and graduated in 2012. Administrators said they're shocked, because they believe Willis was a good kid.

It’s a truly sad situation for all involved. Grand Forks police comment there is no link between Willis and the victims.

Police also, told us that two people were in the vehicle with Willis when he drove up the Walmart. And, that they did not know about what Willis was going to do in advance.

The names of the two Walmart employees involved in the shooting are expected to be released Wednesday.

As for Walmart re-opening, the company said they don't have an exact date or time.


The suspect of the shooting incident at Wal-Mart Tuesday morning has been identified as Marcell Willis, a 21-year-old active duty Air Force, assigned to the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Marcell Willis entered the Wal-Mart store just after 1 a.m.

He apparently encountered two Wal-Mart employees shortly after entering the store. Police say it appears he shot both employees; injuring one and killing the other.

Reports indicated that he continued into the store, and encountered another Wal-Mart employee.

It appears that he fired his weapon again, but the round did not strike that employee.

Willis reportedly continued through the store, and does not appear to have encountered anyone else before he suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A handgun was located near his body.

Willis received immediate medical treatment by first responding officers and EMS personnel and was transported by ambulance to Altru, where he died.

Wal-Mart was open at the time of the incident, and both customers and employees were in the store.

It appears that many self-evacuated or sheltered in place when shots were fired and did not directly encounter the suspect at any time.

The Public Safety Answering Point received the first call at 1:04 am, it was dispatched at 1:05 am, and the first officers arrived on scene at 1:08 am.

First responding officers immediately entered the store in an effort to contact and stop the threat as well as to provide immediate medical assistance and helped to safely evacuated many store patrons and employees. The Grand Forks Regional SWAT and Bomb Teams were activated and used to eventually clear and secure all scenes involved in this event.

This investigation is in its preliminary stages. The above information is based upon witness statements and evidence available at this time.

All victim information is being withheld at this time, to permit full family notifications.
An additional news release will be forthcoming on Wednesday with the names of the Wal-Mart employees who suffered gunshot wounds.

At this time, there does not appear to be an apparent link connecting Willis to the victims or to that particular store location.

Anyone with information regarding this incident, or any of the people involved, to contact the Grand Forks Police Department.

Anyone who was in the store at the time of the incident who has not yet spoken to an investigator to call Police.