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Teen sentenced to prison for shooting at Willmar house party

An 18-year-old has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to shooting a man outside a party in June 2019. A bullet was left in the victim's body, because doctors said it couldn't be safely removed.

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Jeremiah Adam Torke

WILLMAR β€” A young St. Cloud man was sentenced to prison last week for shooting a man outside a Willmar house party in June 2019.

Jeremiah Adam Torke, 18, was sentenced last week in Kandiyohi County District Court to 103 months in prison, which is eight years and seven months, and was given credit for nearly six months already served in jail. He was ordered to pay $1,090 in court fees and victim assistance.

Torke had pleaded guilty to first-degree assault causing great bodily harm in February. Three other felony charges were dismissed β€” second-degree murder with intent, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and threats of violence for threatening to kill police officers.

Under state law, he will serve at least two-thirds of his sentence in custody and may serve the rest of the time on supervised release.

Torke was a juvenile when he shot a man outside a house party in southwest Willmar. His case was later transferred to adult court.

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The man he shot had his gall bladder removed, and his liver was damaged. The bullet was left in his body, because doctors said it could not be removed without causing additional damage, according to court records.

Willmar Police Department officers and ambulance personnel arrived at the scene to find the victim lying on the ground in front of the house next door to the party.

The man said he had been standing 10 to 15 feet away from the young man who had shot him, and he did not know why he had been shot.

Witnesses said Torke had been fighting with people at the party and had been told to leave. Shortly after he left, people at the party heard three shots.

A man who witnessed the shooting told authorities the victim had tried to keep people calm and to keep Torke from fighting with others.

Torke was arrested later that morning at another location in Willmar. Officers found a handgun in the pocket of his shorts.

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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