UMD Student ID'ed as Victim in Duluth Homicide

Heidi Enninga
February 15, 2017 09:17 PM

The 22 year-old victim in a Tuesday afternoon shooting in Duluth has been identified as William Andrew Grahek. 

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On a report of a shooting around 2 p.m., the Duluth Police Department responded to address in the 500 block of East 11th Street. 

Police say Grahek, a Duluth resident, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The 22 year-old was a student at UMD, enrolled in both the Swenson College of Science and Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts. He also served as a specialist with the Duluth-based 312th Army Reserve Engineer Company, according to family. 

Grahek is the son of St. Paul Police Sgt. Jon Grahek. In a statement, the department extended its deepest condolences to the family. The department also spoke on behalf of the Grahek family saying "they do not wish to make a public statement other than to say they loved William very much and to thank everyone who has reached out to them with comforting words and support."

Grahek was also a student at St. Scholastic from the fall of 2013 to the fall of 2014. At both UMD and CSS, Grahek was a member of the rugby team. 

On Wednesday morning, authorities said no one was in custody. That comes after Duluth Police said on Tuesday night that a person of interest had been detained in connection to the homicide in the residential area of the East Hillside neighborhood.

Officers have identified a possible motive, but have not released any further information. Police and several Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive agents are conducting search warrants. 

The department asked anyone with information on the incident to call 911. 

This shooting was the sixth in Duluth in a span of 25 days, but the first to result in a death.


A spokesperson for the St. Paul Police Department released a statement:

"William Grahek is the son of Saint Paul Police Sgt. Jon Grahek. He grew up in Centerville, Minn., and graduated from Centennial High School. He lived in Duluth, Minn., where he was studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth and was proud to serve as a specialist with the 312th Army Reserve Engineer Company, located on Park Point in Duluth.

The St. Paul Police Department extends its deepest condolences to the family. The department will do all it can to support Sgt. Grahek and his loved ones during this difficult time and asks that everyone keep them in their prayers.

The Graheks do not wish to make a public statement other than to say that they loved William very much and to thank everyone who has reached out to them with comforting words and support.

The family asks that their privacy be respected as they mourn the loss of their beloved family member."

A Spokesperson for the United States Army Reserve Command at Fort Bragg released a statement:

"First and foremost, our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the Grahek

Family.  William was a model Soldier, hard worker and great friend to many

here at the 312th Engineer Company."

The UMD Fighting Penguins Rugby team posted a statement on Facebook:

"UMD Rugby is mourning the loss of one of our own today. Will Grahek was shot and killed in Duluth Tuesday, February 14th. His family and and friends are in our prayers.

Will played flyhalf for UMD after transferring from the College of St Scholastica where he was a rugby player and resident advisor. He was a kind soul who always had a huge smile to share. He touched many lives and will be greatly missed...Please look out for each other. Talk, hug, cry... and smile when you remember that amazing, goofy smile."

Officials at UMD released this statement:

"The campus community mourns the loss of Will Grahek and our hearts and deepest condolences go out to his family and friends," said Dr. Lisa Erwin, Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students. 

The College of St. Scholastica released this statement: 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this difficult time. The College is making counseling services available to any students who would like them through the Student Center for Health and Well-Being."


Heidi Enninga

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