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Man found dead at Baldhill Dam after allegedly firing shots into Valley City businesses

VALLEY CITY, N.D. - A man is dead after allegedly firing shots into businesses here and then crashing his vehicle near Baldhill Dam on Tuesday.

Shortly after 5 p.m., Jim Peterson, co-owner of Brothers III, a convenience store at 507 E. Main St., was handing change to a customer when he felt something whizz by about 3 feet above his head.

He had heard what he thought was a firecracker in the building when a customer said someone was shooting at the business, he said.

"It only happened in seconds," he said Tuesday night.

A witness down the street saw the man pull out a rifle from his pickup, then begin to shoot at the store.

The man reportedly fired about three shots into the convenience store, then turned and fired at least one shot into Dakota Silver liquor store, which is also owned by the Peterson family, across the street.

Valley City police Detective Mark McDonald said no one was injured or hit by bullet fragments in the shooting.

Peterson and his brother, co-owner Ron Peterson, were inside the convenience store at the time of the incident. Jim Peterson said the store was full, with about a dozen people inside and others outside at the gas pumps.

"It's amazing somebody didn't get hit," he said.

Peterson said a Dakota Silver employee had just turned to run a credit card about a "tenth of a second" before the shot rang though the building and directly into where the employee had stood.

"If he would have been able to shoot lower, somebody would have been shot," Peterson said. "We can't find any bullets, but we know the bullets are there. They came through the walls."

The man did not leave his vehicle and sped out of town.

About a half-hour later, a vehicle accident was reported near Baldhill Dam - about nine miles north of the city.

Rescue crews found the man dead at the scene of the crash and connected the two incidents a short time later. Further details about the man's death were not available. said the man was not fleeing law enforcement when he crashed his vehicle into a power pole by the dam.

The man, said to be in his 20s, had not yet been identified as of press time.

Peterson said he knows the man's name but not why he would shoot at the two businesses.

The man has no relation to the family and was not a former employee of either business.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530