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Willmar man gets stayed prison, jail, fine for shooting incident

WILLMAR — Raul Veliz Jr., 29, of Willmar, was sentenced Friday to 60 months in prison, which was stayed, 10 years of probation, 360 days in the county jail and a $2,000 fine on a charge of possession of a pistol or assault weapon by a convicted felon for possessing a stolen gun during an incident at Regency Estates East.

The sentence was handed down by District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court. As part of a plea agreement, two felony charges of receiving stolen property and discharging a weapon in city limits, plus a misdemeanor charge for fleeing a peace officer, were dismissed.

The charges were filed after Willmar police officers were called around 6 p.m. Sept. 17, 2011, to Regency Estates East on a report of gunshots in the area. Officers arrived to find a number of men, including Veliz, in the area.

Witnesses reported that Veliz and another man had a gun and were firing it. When Veliz and the man were told to come toward the officer and speak with him, they ran into a trailer ho-me.

An officer witnessed Ve-liz exit the back door of the trailer, run into a grassy area and then back into the trailer. The officer found a small silver and black handgun, a muzzle-loading firearm and a sawed-off shotgun in the grassy area. The handgun was loaded and cocked to fire.

Witnesses told police that Veliz and the other man arrived at a gathering and threatened people while firing about five shots in the air. Others reported that there was a group of people with bats and sticks attempting to fight with them.

Another individual reported that Veliz and a relative had had a fight a week earlier at the Caribbean Club and that Veliz and the other man had been driving and walking past their home in attempts to get back at them.

The handgun was examined and determined to be a gun stolen in November 2010 from the Zero Tolerance store in Willmar.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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