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Woman Shot In Deadly New Brighton Feud Speaks Out

"All of a sudden, he started shooting."
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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jennifer Cleven described to reporters Wednesday being shot by her neighbor and watching her long-time boyfriend die in front of her.

“Todd was laying there,” she said, “and he kept shooting and shooting after he was down,”

Cleven said the neighbor across the street — 57-year-old Neal Zumberge — shot them Monday evening after a dispute over feeding deer.

Cleven said Zumberge had been harassing her and her boyfriend, Todd Stevens, for years for feeding deer in their yard. Zumberge claimed they had given him Lyme Disease.

Cleven said Zumberge would often kill animals, including deer, and put them on her yard.

“Right before Thanksgiving, I found two mutilated dear dead on my lawn,” she said.

It forced her to install surveillance cameras.

Just hours before the shooting, Zumberge’s son, Jacob, had been arrested for threatening Cleven and Stevens. He was charged with making terroristic threats.

Cleven thinks the shooting was retaliation for the arrest, and she says Zumberge’s wife drew the couple outside by picking an argument just so Zumberge could shoot them.

“He just kept shooting Todd when he was down,” Cleven said. “And then he tried shooting me when I ran in the house, and he got me.”

Cleven said she was shot twice as bullets went through her house. Her dog was also shot but survived.

She said that she wanted to help her boyfriend, but was afraid to go back outside.

Now, she’s forced to move on without him.

“We would go ride motorcycles together,” she said. “We spent all our time together. We were so close. He was my life.”

Cleven said she was granted a restraining order against Zumberge two years ago, but it didn’t do any good.

The complaint also indicates that during the shooting Cleven heard someone yelling “keep shooting” while she and Stevens were being shot at.

Zumberge was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder and attempted murder. He is being held in the Ramsey County Jail.

If you’d like to help Cleven, a fund has been set up at TCF Bank under the name Jennifer D. Cleven.

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