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New details emerge in shooting: Suspect faces felony robbery charges

Jacob McCoy

One of the two men arrested in connection with the Dec. 8 shooting in Alexandria has been formally charged and bail has been set.

New details have also emerged about the events that led up to the shooting, involving allegations of robbery, arson, a fake kidnapping, a requested exchange of meth for stolen property and a claim of self-defense.

Jacob McCoy, 25, of Alexandria, who was arrested Tuesday, was charged with attempted aggravated robbery in the first degree and attempted robbery, both felony-level crimes. Bail has been set at $400,000 for unconditional release or $15,000 cash/$150,000 bond on specified conditions.

The second person, Zachary Gordon, 29, also of Alexandria, remains a person of interest, but was released from jail Wednesday afternoon pending further investigation and consideration, according to Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson.

The man who was shot, Michael Wells, 35, of Alexandria, remains hospitalized and is being treated for his injuries, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The case remains under investigation as Wells, a crucial witness, has not been available for law enforcement interviews within the timeline that Minnesota courts require charges to be filed. Authorities received a statement from him, but more conversations are pending.

"Due to the pendency of investigation and prosecution, my office is unable to further comment on the case at this time," said Larson. "Additional charges against individuals are possible."

Here's what happened

According to the criminal complaint, which outlines the preliminary details of the shooting incident:

Alexandria police officers were dispatched at 9:46 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, to an area near 5th Avenue and Elm Street in Alexandria for a report of a gunshot and screaming. While responding, the officers were notified that a male, who was later identified as Wells, was at Alomere Health being treated for a gunshot wound.

At the scene, officers found a black revolver with a wooden handle.

Alexandria Police Officer Ryan Cook proceeded to the hospital and spoke with a man who stated he was at the scene at the time of the shooting. The man said he, along with another man, drove with Wells to the Knute Nelson baseball field to meet up with Zachary Gordon, who supposedly had property that had been stolen from Wells. Wells reportedly exited the vehicle, while the two men remained inside.

Gordon was reportedly in the driver's seat of the vehicle Wells was walking toward and McCoy was in the backseat. A witness believed McCoy was restrained with zip ties.

The witness at the hospital told police that Wells approached Gordon's vehicle, opened the door and was shot. The two men who had been with Wells then brought him to the hospital while Gordon immediately fled the scene in his vehicle.

The witness said that earlier that same evening, Wells had been in contact with Gordon about the stolen property and that Gordon said he had the person responsible for the burglary and apparent arson of Wells' home restrained in the back seat of his car. The witness suggested to Cook that the exchange may involve meth.

An interview with Wells

On Monday, Dec. 10, Alexandria Police Detective Jay Halverson obtained a recorded statement from Wells at the health facility where he was transferred. Apparently after several phone exchanges between Wells and Gordon and a couple of meet-up attempts, the two finally agreed to meet at the ballfield.

Wells said he walked to the passenger side of Gordon's vehicle and was shot by McCoy, who was seated in the back of the vehicle.

Prior to that interview, Wells had expressed frustration because he had contacted the sheriff's office numerous times and advised them of the situation. According to the criminal complaint, sheriff's records reflect that Wells contacted the Douglas County Sheriff's Office multiple times that evening.

In one of those conversations, Wells reportedly asked the sheriff's office to provide him with one pound of methamphetamine so that he could use it in exchange for his property that had been previously stolen.

The sheriff's office informed Wells they would not supply him with the meth and he was told not to meet with Gordon and McCoy because he was likely being set up. Wells contacted Sgt. Greg Windhurst at the sheriff's office at 9:39 p.m. and told him of the unsuccessful meet-ups with Gordon and McCoy. Wells was then again warned not to meet with them.

Immediately after their phone conversation, Windhurst contacted Alexandria Police Sgt. Tony Kuhnau to let him know of his conversations with Wells. Kuhnau then advised other officers and proceeded to the location of 5th Avenue and Elm Street.

Four minutes later, the call came in about shots being fired.

McCoy's statement

In his recorded statement at the Douglas County Jail, McCoy admitted that his plan for the evening of Dec. 8 was to rob Wells, according to the criminal complaint. He told authorities that only the passenger side front door was unlocked to lure Wells into the vehicle through that way. McCoy said he was going to rob Wells of his drugs because he needed money, and pretended to be held captive by Gordon as way to lure Wells.

When Wells entered the vehicle, however, McCoy said Wells immediately held a gun to his head. The criminal complaint stated that Gordon lunged at the gun and then McCoy said he shot Wells from the back seat to save Gordon from being shot. McCoy also said that if Wells had not pulled the gun on Gordon, he would have just robbed him, not shot him. During his interview, McCoy reportedly asked if it was illegal to rob a drug dealer.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Alexandria Police Department obtained a Facebook message from McCoy's account that he sent to a friend that read, "I'm going away for a while man" and "he pulled a .44 out and was going to shoot me in the head. I reacted first." Included in the message was a video news clip that featured the shooting.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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