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Truck hit by bullet on Highway 52

A truck driver passing through Kenmare last Tuesday (March 24) suffered injuries to his left arm after his vehicle was hit by a high-caliber bullet.

3/31/15 (Tue)

Bullet passed through truck door... A bullet hole is seen on the outside of the driver's side door of a semi-trailer March 24 after the driver reported a shooting while driving through Kenmare on U.S. Highway 52. The driver was wounded on his left arm, not from the bullet, but from exploding fragments of the truck's steering column. 

By Marvin Baker

A truck driver passing through Kenmare last Tuesday (March 24) suffered injuries to his left arm after his vehicle was hit by a high-caliber bullet.

The man, who did not want to be identified, was southbound on U.S. Highway 52 at about 1:45 p.m., when the driver’s side door was struck, according to Kyle Kienholz, the Kenmare police officer investigating the incident.

The bullet pierced the metal of the door, traveled through the door, hit the steering column and broke the steering column apart, according to Kienholz. The fragments from the steering mechanism cut the man’s arm.

Kienholz said the man refused medical treatment and had already placed bandages on his arm when police arrived.

“The bullet came from the east side of the highway,” Kienholz said. “I interviewed people and one guy was out smoking and heard a loud noise. He said it sounded like a rifle.”

Personnel in a repair shop fixing the door of the truck, were instructed to look for bullet fragments, according to Kienholz, that could link it to a weapon.

He said rumors were flying in the hours following the incident. One suggested the shooting occurred near the St. Agnes Catholic Church. Another rumor circulated that the bullet came from an apartment complex on Division Street.

Regardless, a vehicle was hit and although Kienholz has followed some leads, a suspect hasn’t yet been arrested.

Kenmare Public School was dismissed Tuesday at its regular time, one hour and 20 minutes following the incident. The school didn’t go into a lockdown and buses left on schedule.

Kienholz said he later put a post on social media asking for the public’s help following his interview with the truck driver.

“That’s when the phone started ringing and it narrowed it down to a certain part of town,” he said. “I did it to reach out to the community and get public assistance through community policing efforts.”

According to Kienholz, the weapon was fired somewhere in the neighborhood of the Quilt Inn to about the location of M&K Pizza Hub, both located along U.S. Highway 52 about a half mile apart.

What makes this weapon discharge even more interesting is it was fired facing westerly, toward a populated area, Kienholz said. It remains unclear if the rifle was fired inside city limits or not. Regardless, because of the force, Kienholz believes it was within the city’s territorial jurisdiction.

He added, however, that he didn’t believe the shot was intentional. He didn’t elaborate on why he thinks that.

Kienholz has asked for assistance from an investigator with the Ward County Sheriff’s Department. That investigator was in Kenmare and met with Kienholz in an effort to begin the task of building a case.

In addition, the man who was  wounded, has a son who is an officer with the Bismarck Police Department. Kienholz said the Bismarck officer intends to offer assistance in the investigation.

Suspect questioned

Kienholz said he interrogated a suspect on Wednesday with a detective for two hours. “The suspect wouldn’t admit to it, and said he would not do a polygraph test for us.”

The charge for such a shooting  incident is considered reckless endangerment, according to the North Dakota Century Code, if a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death to another is created. The offense is a Class C felony if the circumstances manifest an extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Otherwise it is a Class A misdemeanor... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!