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Bond set for Grand Forks man accused of breaking into home before being shot by deputies

Joseph Espinoza, 37, made his first court appearance for the incident on Thursday, March 3.

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GRAND FORKS — Bond has been set for a Grand Forks man accused of breaking into a Grand Forks County couple’s house and trying to steal their pickup before he was shot and by a pair of sheriffs deputies.

Joseph Espinoza, 37, made his first court appearance for the incident on Thursday, March 3. He did not enter a plea, but bond was set at $300,000 cash and a judge ordered Espinoza not to contact either of the homeowners or the deputies who shot him. He is next set to appear in court on April 8.

Earlier this week, Espinoza was charged on Wednesday with seven felonies — robbery, burglary, attempted theft, stealing a firearm, terrorizing, reckless endangerment, and criminal mischief — plus three further misdemeanors: reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, and leaving the scene of an accident. He was charged with felony theft on Tuesday for allegedly stealing a Jeep Grand Cherokee from a Hugo’s grocery store on South Washington Street on Sunday, Feb. 27.

Sheriff’s office staff also sought a pair of assault charges against Espinoza and claimed on Tuesday that he was being charged with those offenses, but State's Attorney Haley Wamstad’s office declined on Wednesday to file them, according to county court records.

Authorities allege that Espinoza stole a car in Grand Forks, crashed it about 5 miles south of town, walked to a nearby house, tried to break into that house, scuffled with a pair of residents there and stole their gun, then attempted to steal their pickup truck.

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A pair of deputies confronted Espinoza outside the house and, police claim, he walked toward them with the gun despite their commands to stop. The deputies shot him in the left leg and rendered aid before he was taken to Altru hospital.

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