Skip to main content

Police: 'No apparent motive' yet in deadly ND Wal-Mart shooting

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Police say the gunman who killed one North Dakota Wal-Mart employee and injured another before taking his own life early Tuesday had no clear connection to the victims, and no motive is apparent at this early point in the investigation.

Authorities identified the shooter Tuesday afternoon as Marcell Willis, a 21-year-old active duty member of the Air Force who was assigned to the Grand Forks Air Force base.

On Wednesday, police identified the two Grand Forks Wal-Mart employees who were shot.

This embed is invalid

Gregory Weiland, a 70-year-old Grand Forks resident, was killed in the attack. And 47-year-old Lisa Braun, also of Grand Forks, was injured. Braun was listed in satisfactory condition at the hospital, WDAZ says.

Willis grew up in Tennessee, graduating from Springfield High School in 2012 before joining the Air Force on a scholarship, the Grand Forks Herald reports.

He was stationed in Grand Forks, and set to marry his girlfriend in September, according to the paper. The two had been dating since last fall, according to social media accounts.

And police say he walked into a local Wal-Mart early Tuesday and shot at multiple employees before taking his own life.

Investigators have few clues to answer one big question: why?

Police say that right now, they don't have a link between Willis and either of the victims, with Grand Forks Police Lt. Derik Zimmel saying Tuesday "no apparent motive" has jumped out yet, The Associated Press reports.

"I'm Marcell Willis I'm in the Air Force based in Grand Forks sadly:(," Willis had written in his Facebook page's about section.

And on his Facebook account, about two hours before police say he entered the Wal-Mart, Willis posted a message that said simply: "RIP TO ME LOVE EVERYONE," WDAY reports.

"We are just half a day into an investigation, so right now there are more questions than answers," Zimmel said, adding that he expects things to change and develop in the coming days, the station reports.

What police say happened

Police detailed the preliminary findings of their investigation in a statement posted online. Here's a summary:

Willis entered the Wal-Mart just after 1 a.m. Tuesday. He came across two employees and shot both – injuring one and killing the other.

He continued through the store and encountered a third employee. He fired his weapon at that worker, but missed. Willis then continued on.

This embed is invalid

After that, it appears he didn't run into anyone else, despite customers and additional employees being in the store. Many of them apparently self-evacuated or sheltered in place when shots were fired.

Willis was found by police with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and a handgun located nearby. First responders began treatment and we was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Next Up


Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Minnetonka approves mask mandate in emergency ordinance

The mandate officially goes into effect Monday night.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here are the snow totals from Friday's winter storm in Minnesota

There was a sharp gradient around the Twin Cities, with the highest amounts in southwestern Minnesota.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello scores twice, Wild win third straight

A team effort helped Minnesota dispatch the Ducks.

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.