‘Run. I’m already dead’ Perham man warns fiancée after shooting

With a notarized eviction notice on his front door, Mike Marcell Jr. walked the 20 yards to his landlord's home on the morning of Sept. 4 to tell him he needed more than 14 days to move.

With a notarized eviction notice on his front door, Mike Marcell Jr. walked the 20 yards to his landlord’s home on the morning of Sept. 4 to tell him he needed more than 14 days to move.

Marcell told Gerald Duane Skolte, 63, who owned the property near Perham where Marcell and his fiancee’s trailer home sat, that he was not going to leave until he had talked to the sheriff. When Skolte stepped out of the house, Marcell noticed the gun.

“I threw my hands into the air and said, ‘Seriously, Gerald, you’re going to pull a gun on me? You’re going to shoot me?’ He told me to leave again,” Marcell said in an interview last week with a Forum News Service reporter.

As Marcell turned to walk away, he saw Skolte draw the gun up and heard him cock it. Marcell said he started to shake and said, “Gerald, don’t you shoot me.”

But Skolte did shoot him, authorities allege. The landlord faces charges in Otter Tail County District Court of attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.


Marcell said he remembers the moment he was shot. After the bullet spun him around and knocked him to the ground, he assessed the damage and thought: “OK, I can move. I said, ‘Mike, cough,’ and there was no blood, so I thought, ‘OK, no blood, that’s good.’”

By that time, Skolte had come up to Marcell and was telling him to leave, the tenant recalls.

“I said, ‘Please don’t shoot me again, Gerald,’ ” Marcell said. “I put my hands up in front of my face and said, ‘Please don’t shoot me again, I have kids.’”

Skolte put the gun down, Marcell said, and walked some distance away before allegedly saying, “If you tell the sheriff I shot you, I will hire someone to kill you.”

Marcell’s fiance, Heidi Honer, was sleeping at the time. She said she heard a loud sound, though she couldn’t identify what had caused it.

“It was a very loud noise,” Honer said. “It scared me.”

What Honer saw when she looked out the window caused her to grab the phone and call 911.

Honer said she also heard Skolte allegedly say, “If you call the sheriff, I’ll hire someone to kill you.”


Frightened that Skolte might come after her, Honer hid in the home, she said, watching Skolte walk toward her, then turn and head back to his own house before she ran outside to find Marcell.

Despite the bullet lodged in his back -- he said he didn’t feel any pain -- Marcell made it to the road where he hoped to flag down help. He called Honer’s name twice, before he told himself, “Shut up,” fearful Skolte would go after her, Honer said.

Honer was still on the line with the 911 dispatcher when she found Marcell on the road walking around holding his back.

“When I saw her, my knees gave out and I fell hard,” Marcell said. “I didn’t even try to break my fall.”

That’s when Honer saw all the blood and realized he had been shot.

“Oh my God, he shot him,” Honer said.

Sitting on the open road, the couple felt like sitting ducks, they said. Thinking he had been shot in the liver and was dying, Marcell recalls telling Honer, “I’m already dead. Run.”

As Marcell was trying to brush away Honer’s hand from his wound, he felt a bump on the other side of his back. It was the bullet, which hadn’t exited his body. That’s when he knew he would be OK, he said.


Barely two weeks after the incident, the couple said they were still reeling from the trauma. They are staying at an undisclosed location, fearful Skolte will send someone after them.

Marcell said he’s having nightmares, neither of them are sleeping very well and Honer is still emotional, ducking at loud sounds. One of Marcell’s dogs who saw the shooting hides when he hears a lawn mower, he said.

One of the couple’s two dogs remains missing. They hope a neighbor may have picked one up, but ask that anyone with information about Khloe, a half German shepherd-half rat terrier cross, may call the Perham Focus office at (218) 346-5900.

Skolte is still being held in the county jail on bail of at least $250,000. His next court appearance is set for Sept. 21. He hasn’t entered a plea yet, according to court records.

When given the chance to speak at his first court appearance Sept. 8, Skolte wanted to make sure that the tenant and his girlfriend are not at the trailer, the Fergus Falls Daily Journal reported.

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Gerald Skolte

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