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Bemidji man accused of attempted murder

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- A Bemidji man shot a 17-year-old girl Monday because he was upset about her accusations that he had been trespassing on her property, according to a criminal complaint filed in Beltrami County Court.

Bail was set Wednesday at $1 million for Chad Eric Pickering, 40, who was arraigned on one count of felony first-degree attempted murder. The judge set conditional bail at $300,000 provided Pickering abide by stipulations including remaining law abiding, surrendering any firearms and having no contact with the victim.

Pickering is accused of shooting the teen three times at about 10 p.m. Monday while she was standing on the deck of her home in Eckles Township, near Bemidji.

Earlier Monday, the girl had spoken to Pickering about trespassing, according to the complaint.

After being shot, the girl collapsed on the deck and pulled herself inside the residence, where she called 911. Officers found her lying on the living room floor, according to court documents. She had been shot in her upper left chest, right thigh and left ankle.

The victim was transported to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and then to a Duluth hospital. Because she is a minor, a status update could not be obtained.

When asked who may have shot her, the girl told law enforcement that a neighbor who lived three doors south from her, whose name she did not know, had been causing problems in the neighborhood. According to the complaint, she said the neighbor had been repeatedly riding his lawn mower through her yard and routinely carried a pistol in a holster while doing so.

Investigators retrieved three spent .45-caliber shells in the grass, and a search of the neighborhood led law enforcement to Pickering.

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol with a holster in an air vent in Pickering’s living room and two partial boxes of .45-caliber ammunition, according to court documents.

Pickering was arrested and taken to the Beltrami County Jail, where he told authorities he took his children on a lawn mower ride and was threatened by a girl for trespassing, the complaint said. He told investigators he went to her house, knelt by a tree and waited 15 to 20 minutes until she opened the front door, shooting her twice and then again after she collapsed, according to the complaint.

The maximum penalty for first-degree attempted murder is 20 years in prison.

Pickering told the court he is originally from Sparta, Wis., and moved to the Bemidji area in August.

He was still being held Wednesday at the jail.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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