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Police arrest suspect in Willmar, Minnesota, drive-by shooting

Willmar police were dispatched around 9:49 p.m. Tuesday to a report of a drive-by shooting in the area of Civic Center Drive and 23rd Street Northeast. Police later made contact with the suspect and recovered a 9mm handgun.

Police lights
Police lights.
Dreamstime/TNS

Editor's note: This story has been updated since original publication to add the details of the release conditions set by the court.

WILLMAR β€” Willmar police arrested a 21-year-old male suspect in a reported drive-by shooting Tuesday night at the intersection of Civic Center Drive and 23rd Street Northeast.

According to a news release from Chief Jim Felt, police were dispatched to the area around 9:49 p.m. Tuesday. The caller who reported the incident stated he was driving in the area and an individual known to him fired a handgun from another vehicle. The caller was able to provide a description of the suspect and license plate of the vehicle.

After further investigation, officers made contact at 10:39 p.m. with the suspect, 21-year-old Weheliye Abdulcadir Abucar Gaal. Officers recovered a 9mm handgun with the serial number removed.

Weheliye.Gaal.Mug.052523
Weheliye Gaal
Contributed / Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office

According to the release, Gaal has a history of arrests for weapons possession and violence. In September of 2022, he was charged with possession of a firearm and controlled substances stemming from an incident in the 1600 block of Seventh Avenue Southeast.

Gaal remained in custody at the Kandiyohi County Jail as of early Thursday afternoon.

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He made his first appearance Thursday morning in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Court documents show the charges include second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, felon in possession of a firearm, removing or altering the serial number of a firearm β€” all three felonies β€” and a gross misdemeanor charge of carrying a pistol without a permit.

The court set bail at $75,000 cash or bond for unconditional release and $35,000 cash or bond for release with conditions that include having no contact with the alleged victim or victim's residence.

Dale Morin is a reporter with the West Central Tribune. He covers public safety and breaking news beats.

Dale can be reached at dmorin@wctrib.com or by phone 320-214-4368.
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