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Grand Forks man shot to death in apartment; police share few clues in search for suspects

Valley Park apartment building where a 24-year-old man died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS - Details about the killing of a 24-year-old man shot early Tuesday at a Grand Forks apartment complex were scarce as family and friends mourned his death and as police chased after the shooters.

Police officers found Jose Luis Alphonso Lopez, also known as Joe and Joeluis, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds when they arrived at the Valley Park Apartments, according to a news release.

He was transported to Altru Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Police could not say whether a threat is posed to the public.

“It’s too soon to say (the public is) not in danger,” Lt. Dwight Love of the Grand Forks Police Department said Tuesday evening.

Police were also unsure about whether the shooting was random or targeted.

“One of the reasons information is scarce is it is a developing investigation,” said Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Peter Welte, who added that officers would release more information if they became aware of a specific public safety threat.

Police would not provide details of the investigation into Lopez’s death, which Love said Tuesday evening was “moving forward.”

Police provided a vague description of two men last seen leaving the scene but gave no identifying details in their last news release Tuesday afternoon.

Lopez lived with his girlfriend, Kelsie Waller, and their 2-year-old daughter in the apartment where he was shot, Welte said. Waller and her family declined to comment, saying they need more time to “get through this.”

Meanwhile, Lopez’s family posted to Facebook and received an outpouring of sympathy from friends and acquaintances.

“Love you brother. Forever and always Wish I could wake you up and tell you that. Gonna miss you,” wrote Erica Marie Lopez, who appears to be his sister.

Originally from Park River, Lopez graduated from Park River High School in 2009. One of his teachers, David Beckman, said he had “clear memories” of Lopez striving to graduate in his junior and senior years.

“He turned the corner there and worked hard and stayed focused and got himself involved,” Beckman said.

“He had a great sense of humor. He was very likeable.”

Police would not give any specifics on the suspects they were pursuing. They could not say what the connection between Lopez and the shooters was, saying they were still looking at all possibilities. Nor have police made a decision as to the motive.

The apartment complex is a locked building. Police would not say how the shooters gained entry into the building, saying the incident is still under investigation.

Welte said he had not heard of a weapon being recovered, but he did say that testing on evidence had begun.