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Grand Forks homicide suspect may have left area, but authorities say arrest near

Dametrian Marcel Welch

One of the two murder suspects in the shooting that occurred at a Grand Forks apartment complex early Tuesday is scheduled to make his first appearance in court today at 3 p.m. while the other suspect is still on the loose.

Dametrian Marcel Welch, 18, of Winston-Salem, N.C., is charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and the murder of 24-year-old Jose Luis “Joe” Lopez at the 17th Street apartment Lopez shared with his fiancée and their two-year-old daughter. Murder is a class AA felony and carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.

Welch was arrested in the Grand Forks Police Department lobby on Wednesday on an unrelated municipal warrant for failure to pay fines according to police.

Court documents made open to the public Thursday shed more light on what happened the night of Lopez’s murder.

He and his fiancée, Kelsie Waller, were sleeping when two intruders — whom investigators believe to be Welch and Delvin Lamont “Squeaky” Shaw, 29, also of Winston-Salem — knocked briefly on Lopez’s door and then kicked it open.

Lopez and Waller awoke to the sounds of the break-in. The two intruders entered the apartment and confronted Lopez inside.

It was then that Lopez’s protective instincts kicked in, said his sister Monique Lopez.

“He was protecting his family,” she said. “Their daughter was sleeping in the other room.”

The court document said a physical struggle broke out between Shaw and Lopez, which ended when Shaw allegedly shot Lopez three times.

He died later of his injuries at Altru Hospital.

Police would not say what brought them to the conclusion that Shaw and Welch were the culprits.

Investigators are still looking for Shaw, who is charged with murder and burglary, both felonies.

Shaw is no stranger to the law, with a lengthy criminal record in North Carolina that dates back to 2001. Court documents show he recently spent about four years in a North Carolina prison for kidnapping.

Lt. Dwight Love of the police department said he believes Shaw is no longer in the area, but underscored that he is unsure.

“We’re making good progress” with the investigation, he said. “We should have him in custody within a few days.”

A memorial fund has been established for the Lopez family. Donations may be sent to Jose Luis Lopez Memorial Fund at KodaBank, 521 Second St., Minto, N.D. Anyone with questions is instructed to call the bank at (701) 248-3242.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 28 at 11 a.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Park River, N.D.