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.

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
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.


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 or by phone 320-214-4368.
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