MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Beltrami County man was charged Wednesday with the attempted first-degree murder of a 17-year-old girl over an apparent dispute involving a lawn mower.
According to the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office, 40-year-old Chad Eric Pickering is accused of shooting his teenage neighbor three times shortly after she confronted him about riding his lawn mower through her yard.
At about 10 p.m. Monday, the teen stepped onto her deck to check on her barking dog when she was shot. She crawled back into the house and called authorities.
The victim told investigators that she had recently talked to her neighbor, later identified as Pickering, about trespassing with his mower while carrying a holstered pistol. Pickering lives three houses south of the victim.
Three spent .45 caliber shells were found under a tree 75 – 100 feet away from the victim’s home. Other neighbors confirmed to investigators that Pickering often rides around on his mower while armed.
Authorities executed a search warrant at his residence on Tuesday, where they found a .45 caliber pistol and a holster hidden in an air vent.
After being read his rights, Pickering initially denied leaving his house that day and denied owning a handgun, claiming his wife sold his .45 caliber gun the previous week. He also claimed fresh grass stains on his jeans were from when he bent down to attach a trailer to his mower.
Pickering eventually told investigators that he took his kids on a mower ride Monday, and when they returned home, the victim was waiting and “threatened” him about trespassing through her yard.
He says he was so upset that he waited beneath a pine tree about 15 – 20 yards from her house, where he waited 15 – 20 minutes. Pickering said he shot the teen three times when she stepped outside to check on her dog. He then returned home and put his gun and holster in a vent.
The victim suffered one gunshot wound to the upper chest, one to her right thigh and one to her left ankle. She is in stable condition at a Duluth hospital.
Pickering is being held on $300,000 bail. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.