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Grand Forks shooting victim’s fiancée says he died protecting family

GRAND FORKS — Even after he was shot, 24-year-old Jose Luis “Joe” Lopez was fighting to drive intruders out of his apartment and away from his family, said his fiancée, Kelsie Waller.

Lopez died of gunshot wounds Tuesday after he was shot during a break-in at his and Waller’s Grand Forks apartment.

Waller said she and Lopez were in their living room when two intruders kicked the door open in the middle of the night.

“There was no knock or anything,” she said, contrary to court documents’ version of the break-in.

Waller said she shook Joe, who upon seeing the intruders, pushed Waller back and ran toward them.

“(Joe’s) main thing was making sure Harper and I were safe,” she said, referring to their 2-year-old daughter. “It’s all that was in his mind to get them out of our apartment.”

After Lopez was shot, he still managed to drive the intruders out of the apartment. It wasn’t until Waller went to call 911 that they finally fled, leaving Waller unharmed and Lopez suffering from gunshot wounds.

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

Waller said that four years together “wasn’t long enough.” The two had been planning to move to Waller’s hometown of Hatton which was closer to Lopez’s job with Motor Coach Industries in Pembina.

“(Hatton) was like his second home,” she said.

The suspect behind bars, Dametrian Marcel Welch, 18, of Winston-Salem, N.C., appeared in court for his initial appearance Friday afternoon. He is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit burglary, both felonies.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 28 and his bond was set at $500,000 due to the severity of the charge, the fact that his alleged co-conspirator is still on the loose and Welch’s criminal history.

The other suspect in the murder, Delvin Lamont Shaw, 29, also of Winston-Salem, is still on the run from police.  

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