Salamah Pendleton, 41, who is accused of opening fire on law enforcement last week, resulting in the death of his mother and a Grand Forks police officer as well as the injury of a Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office deputy, remains in the hospital after suffering gunshot wounds. Due to HIPAA, his injuries and other details about his condition remain unknown, but Altru Hospital spokesperson Annie Bonzer told the Herald Thursday, June 5, that his condition is "satisfactory."
At his initial appearance in court last week, held telephonically, Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force Special Agent Steve Gilpin said he was accompanying Pendleton in the hospital, and that Pendleton was still unconscious and on a ventilator. Bonzer was unable to confirm whether Pendleton's condition has changed since then. His bond was set at $1 million cash-only at that hearing, and his next court appearance, an arraignment and preliminary hearing, is scheduled for June 29. A final dispositional conference, the deadline for Pendleton to decide whether he wants to take a plea agreement or go to trial, is scheduled for Sept. 10.
Pendleton is facing two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of criminal mischief resulting in damage of more than $10,000, one count of terrorizing and one count of reckless endangerment with extreme indifference. If convicted of murder, the most serious of the charges, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.
He is accused of opening fire on two sheriff's deputies on May 27 in a south Grand Forks apartment, when the deputies attempted to execute a court order to remove him and his mother, Lola Moore, from the residence as part of eviction proceedings for failure to pay rent. After the first shots were fired, two GFPD officers responded to the deputies' call for assistance.
Moore and GFPD Officer Cody Holte were fatally wounded in the gunfire exchange. GFCSO Cpl. Ron Nord also suffered gunshot wounds to his leg and abdomen. He was transported to Altru Hospital and has since been discharged. Police say in total, Pendleton fired 41 rounds from an AK-47. He also suffered gunshot wounds and was taken to Altru Hospital, where he remains.
The investigation into last week's shooting is being led by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, so GFPD and GFCSO have turned all evidence, including documents and reports that include details of the incident, over to state investigators.
Also included in evidence turned over to the state is body camera footage from at least some of the officers involved in the shooting. GFCSO Captain Joel Lloyd confirmed that both deputies who were involved in the initial shooting were wearing activated body cameras at the time of the shooting. GFPD Lt. Derik Zimmel was unsure if either of the GFPD two officers who responded to the call for assistance had activated their body cameras.
"In a way, it would surprise me a little bit if they did, because bearing in mind, their body cams are not always running, so the officers need to activate them and deactivate them," Zimmel said. "If they're en route to a call, where deputies are saying that they're under fire, and there's a person that's been killed, I'm thinking it's possible if not likely that in their rush to get up there to come to that deputy's assistance, they just simply didn't turn them on."
All evidence in the investigation will be released as part of any trial that takes place, or once the investigation has concluded.
Zimmel also clarified that Gilpin is an officer for BCI, and that just because he is a member of the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force that doesn't mean the fatal shooting is being treated as a narcotics investigation.