From left, Alfred K. Forrest and Princeston Randall. (Courtesy Portage Co. Jail)

Two men face felony charges following Almond shooting

By Brandi Makuski

Two local men are facing felony charges after residents complained about two nights of gunshots in a rural Almond area.

Alfred K. Forrest, 30, and Princeston Randall, 24, were arrested on April 24 after deputies found firearms in the backseat of Forrest’s vehicle during a traffic stop. According to court records, both men hail from the Chicago area but Forrest now lives in Stevens Point and Randall lives in Plover.

The two men were in Portage Co. Circuit Court on Monday, appearing for bond hearings by video from the county jail. District Attorney Louis Molepske appeared for the State before Court Commissioner Melissa Dalkert.

According to Molepske, who read from the incident report during the hearing, said numerous Almond-area residents complained to Portage Co. deputies about hearing gunshots between 2 and 3 a.m. for the past two nights. One witness was able to provide a description of a vehicle they saw in the area around the time of hearing gunshots, and another resident installed a trail camera in an area where he observed several rounds of spent ammunition, Molepske said.

Deputies located a vehicle matching the witness’s description, a red Chevrolet, at 2:36 a.m. near Eckles Rd. and Guth Rd. in Almond on April 24.

Deputies observed the strong odor of marijuana when they approached the vehicle, which was driven by Forrest, according to Molepske. Randall was sitting in the passenger seat.

Deputies also saw two semi-automatic firearms in plain sight in the backseat, within reach of both men—an AR-15 and a .9mm handgun. The deputies then asked both men to exit the vehicle. Randall complied, Molepske said, but Forrest was not cooperative and had to be forcibly removed.

“Upon touching the AR-15 muzzle it was hot to the touch, indicating it had recently been fired,” Molepske said, adding that deputies found empty magazines for both weapons, and 10 unused .9mm rounds in the vehicle. An undisclosed amount of marijuana was also found in the vehicle.

Molepske said Forrest was a felon, having been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon from a vehicle in Illinois in 2018. He also has a previous conviction related to marijuana possession.

Molepske requested a cash bond for both men because they had strong ties to Illinois.

Molepske requested Forrest be held on a $2,500 cash bond. Defense attorney Max Bergner argued his client was not a flight risk, saying that Forrest lived with his wife and children and has resided on Main St. for over a year.

Based on his local residence and employment at a local furniture warehouse, Dalkert issued a $5,000 signature bond with conditions that Forrest has no contact with co-defendant and that he not possess any weapons. He returns to court for an initial appearance on May 10 at 2:30 p.m.

Molepske requested a $2,5oo cash bond for Randall, noting that the defendant was currently on bond in Portage Co. for felony disorderly conduct with a domestic abuse modifier and bail-jumping. Randall also has an open Portage Co. case from April, when he was cited for discharging a firearm from/across a highway.

Bergner argued for a signature bond, saying Randall lives in Plover with his fiance and children and is currently undergoing treatment for an undisclosed mental health issue.

Dalkert ordered a $1,000 cash bond for Randall with conditions he has no contact with his co-defendant and not possess any dangerous weapons. He returns for an initial appearance at 2:15 p.m. on May 10.

Both men face charges of felon in the possession of a firearm, with additional charges possible, Molepske said.