A Duluth man who allegedly pistol-whipped and robbed a 17-year-old near Catlin Courts in Superior waived his preliminary hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Willie Wilson, 37, faces felony counts of armed robbery, physical abuse of a child, possession of a firearm by outstate felon and second-degree recklessly endangering safety. A cash bond of $25,000 was set for Wilson, and he was ordered to have no contact with two minor victims and no possession or use of a dangerous weapon or firearm.

The incident involved mistaken identity and retaliation for a stolen cell phone, according to the criminal complaint.

Two minors, ages 16 and 17, reported to Superior police that they left Wade Bowl Park on Sept. 29 and were near Catlin Courts when a vehicle drove by, stopped and a man later identified as Wilson got out. He walked up to the 17-year-old and whipped him with the gun. When the teen fell to the ground, Wilson got on top of him and reportedly pressed the gun against his head. The 16-year-old tried to intervene, but Wilson pointed the gun at him, according to the criminal complaint.

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Willie Wilson
Willie Wilson

Wilson asked the 17-year-old where his niece’s phone was. When the victim said he didn’t have it, the Duluth man allegedly hit him in the face with the gun three times, ripped a necklace off his neck and took a bag containing the teen’s phone, the criminal complaint said.

He allegedly told the 17-year-old “You have 5 seconds to run.” The teen told police he heard a click that sounded like a trigger being pulled as he was running away.

Officers located the suspect vehicle outside a Superior residence, formed a perimeter and ordered Wilson to leave the residence. They found a loaded handgun in a shed on the property, and a pack with identification bearing the 17-year-old’s name in the garbage in the kitchen.

According to witnesses, three boys had stolen a girl’s cell phone earlier that day at Wade Bowl Park and threw her shoes down the drain. Neither of the victims were involved with stealing the phone, but they were in a group with those boys when the girl’s mother and aunt went to the park to confront them. One of the teen victims reportedly told the women “We’ll shoot y’all up,” and said they had guns at home, the criminal complaint said.

One of the women called Wilson, her boyfriend, and told him what happened. He came to the Superior residence and they drove together toward the park, according to the criminal complaint. One of the women who was in the car told police she knew Wilson had a gun, but denied seeing anyone get hit with it. She said Wilson grabbed a phone from the victim, thinking it was the girl’s phone, and they left.

The most serious charge, armed robbery, is a class C felony that carries a maximum penalty of 40 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. Wilson’s next court appearance was set for Nov. 22