Grand Forks home of double murder suspect's mother hit with a dozen bullets

Police are trying to determine if the home was targeted as revenge for the double murder of two teens.

A bullet hole in the fence of a Grand Forks home where the mother of a double murder suspect lives.
Matt Henson / WDAY News
We are part of The Trust Project.

GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks Police Department is trying to figure out if a Father's Day shooting was random or an act of revenge. They say about a dozen shots were fired through a fence of a home on the city's south side just before 5 p.m. Sunday, June 19. A few shots also hit a neighboring garage.

Two boys were in the backyard at the time and one of them was nearly hit by a bullet.

"It's very concerning. It's still an open and active investigation. We currently don't have any suspects and no other witnesses have stepped forward," said Grand Forks Police Lt. Andy Stein.

The home belongs to the mother of Valentin Mendoza. She was home and one of several people in the neighborhood to call 911. Her son is facing two counts of murder for the deaths of 17-year- old Ethan Carsen and 16-year-old Damien Powell on June 17, 2021.

Prosecutors say he slammed head-on into their car on Highway 220. Mendoza survived.


Prosecutors say Mendoza was on a suicide mission that day.

The one-year anniversary of the crash was Friday, just two days before the shooting.

"Everything is being explored at this point, we have not made any connections as of yet," Stein said.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
What to read next
Bill Panos, the director of North Dakota Department of Transportation, cited family obligations in California as the reason he is resigning.
Breaking News
On Tuesday, investigators conducted an excavation in the 1000 block of First Ave. N. after receiving information that the body of Nikle may have been buried near the foundation of the residence when it was constructed.
In this episode of Dakota Spotlight, retired Bismarck Police Detective Bill Connor speaks frankly about the details of the case, still sharp in his memory, and his encounters with those connected to Michelle "Shelly" Julson as he re-investigated the case from 2005 to 2010.
Kristi Nikle's dad once lived on the street, and the teenager used to play with family and friends on the lot until the house was moved there.