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Shooting death of David Delfosse in Willmar called 'horrible and tragic'

Willmar authorities are putting every available resource into solving the "horrible and tragic" death of David Delfosse, 41, who was shot while working in his garage Friday evening. The bullet was found to have come through a wall of the garage and hit Delfosse, who later died at Carris-Rice Memorial Hospital.

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WILLMAR — David Delfosse was working on a remodeling project when he was shot through the wall of his garage Friday evening.

Family members at first thought Delfosse, 41, may have had an accident with electricity or something else he was working on, when he collapsed, and they called 911, Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt said Sunday.

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Medical personnel discovered a wound in his chest, and he died later that evening at Carris-Rice Memorial Hospital.

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At first, investigators had to “put the pieces together” to figure out what had happened, Felt said. He called the incident “horrible and tragic.”

There’s no indication that Delfosse was targeted, he said, and it’s possible the shooting was the result of a reckless discharge of a firearm firing a larger caliber round. Delfosse’s home is in the 1000 block of Fourth Street Southwest in Willmar.

Officers with the Willmar Police Department have been working around the clock since Friday, collecting evidence, following up on tips and trying to piece together what happened. Felt said some of them worked for 40 hours straight. They’ve split into shifts now to keep the investigation going and allow people to get some rest.

“All indications are that he was an upstanding citizen, family man, worked for a large local company, and he was out remodeling part of his garage, and this tragically happened,” Felt said. “I certainly hope we can find the person that did this and hold them accountable; we really want to find justice for this family.”

Police have continued to gather evidence since the shooting and turn it over to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Crime Lab for analysis. The BCA’s Crime Scene Team traveled to Willmar Friday night to assist in the investigation.

Delfosse, 41, was operations manager in the Bridge Division at Duininck Inc., based in Prinsburg. He appeared in a company video in December and said he had worked for the company for 12 years. He described how he had started as a beginner, rising through the ranks to operations manager.

Chris Duininck, company president, said Delfosse was a dedicated, loyal employee.

“He loved the guys that worked with him,” he said. “He showed up every day with a passion to be better and to make those around him better — we’re going to miss him.”

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Duininck said he doesn’t understand yet what happened, and he hopes some answers can be found.

“We hurt for the family, a lot,” he said. “We hope the mystery is taken out of it, just that there’s some resolution.”

The police department’s SWAT team served a high-risk search warrant Saturday, but no arrests were made at the time.

Felt said it’s possible the person who pulled the trigger didn’t know at the time that the bullet had hit a person. “It’s just so senseless.”

The investigation is continuing, but it could take time for detectives and the crime lab to analyze evidence and follow leads.

The goal is to find the person responsible and hold them accountable, Felt said.

“We’re putting all the resources we can into it, including the BCA,” he said. “We’ll certainly do our best to get some justice for the Delfosse family.”

The Police Department has asked the public to share information about the case by contacting the department at (320)235-2244. Tips can also be submitted via email at police@willmarmn.gov or anonymously at www.crimestoppersmn.org .

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Residents of the area have been asked to review video from home security cameras and to report suspicious behavior or audio/video in which gunshots can be heard.

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In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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