Willmar man sent to prison for firing flare gun at victim

Firing a flare gun at another man after an argument a year ago has earned a Willmar man a 52-month prison sentence.

Abel Villanueva

WILLMAR — A Willmar man has received a 52-month prison sentence for firing a flare gun at a man’s head last year.

Abel Villanueva, 38, was sentenced Friday in Kandiyohi County District Court to the four-year, four-month sentence with credit for a little more than a year — 393 days — already served in jail. He is to pay $215 in fines and court fees and is to pay restitution once it has been determined.

Under state law, Villanueva must serve at least two-thirds of the sentence in prison and may be able to serve the remainder on supervised release.

He had pleaded guilty in September to a charge of second-degree assault causing fear. At sentencing, charges of fifth-degree assault, fifth-degree drug possession and criminal in possession of a firearm, all felonies.

According to court records, Villanueva argued with a man at the Speedway on South First Street in Willmar late in the evening of Oct. 24. He allegedly fired a flare gun at the back of the man's head as he walked away outside the building. Villanueva ran away and left in a vehicle, according to the complaint.


Officers responding to a trespass complaint at the Highland Apartments on Oct. 28 found Villanueva and arrested him. They confiscated 3.28 grams of methamphetamine in a cigarette package he carried and a hypodermic needle on his person, according to the criminal charges.


Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
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: or phone 320-214-4340
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