Family of slain gas station clerk expresses relief in suspect’s capture

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 18:22:31-04

WAYLAND, Mich. -- Jordan Houle said she's experienced a range of emotions since news of her mother's, Shannon Schoen, tragic death. Today, Houle said she's glad police caught the murder suspect before she set out to do the same.

"She was the most... I couldn't compare her to any other mother," Houle said.

The necklace Houle bought her mom for Mother's Day still dangles from the rearview mirror in her mother's SUV. It’s the vehicle she last saw her mother getting into Monday morning to go to work for the last time.

"Now I'm just kind of pissed off. I'm very upset about it," Houle explained.

Schoen was gunned down Monday morning during an armed robbery at the Marathon gas station at 28th Street and Buchanan, in Wyoming. A 7-hour standoff and search of a Grand Rapids home turned up nothing. Suspect Willie Bryant Jr. was still on the loose and considered armed and dangerous.

Detectives big break came around 9 p.m. on Monday. That's when 33-year-old Bryant was brought to justice.

Houle said, "I just didn't think they'd catch him at the McDonald's."

"I thought they'd catch him like, hiding or at a friend's house or something like that," she explained.

Houle said Bryant's capture was a small bit of relief.

"If they wouldn't have caught him I would have tried looking for him and called the cops on him and whatever I could to get him to have my mom actually rest in peace," she said.

Now she's left with just memories and her mother’s vehicle which she was planning to use for her driver’s test in just a few weeks. She said her mother was supposed to ride with her.

"[The vehicle] means a lot because her scent is still in it. All her stuff was still in it. I mean her sweatshirt that she wore last was still in it," Houle explained.

Police are still looking for an accomplice in that armed robbery. A surveillance image has been released. If you know him call Silent Observer.

Bryant was arraigned today for Sunday's shooting in Grand Rapids. Homicide charges in Schoen’s case are still pending. A third person, a driver, was also arrested.

Meantime, Schoen’s family is hoping to raise enough money for her funeral. If you want to help you can click here.