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'Actually dodging the bullets': Several kids nearly hit by a dozen bullets outside Grand Forks home

Grand Forks Police say a man involved in a domestic dispute started firing random shots into the backyards of two homes, nearly striking four kids on Father's Day.

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Christian Christianson and Kyla Wallery describe what it was like having a dozen bullets whiz by them as they were playing dodgeball in the backyard of a Grand Forks home Sunday, June 19.
Matt Henson / WDAY News
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GRAND FORKS — Nine-year-old Kyla Wallery and 10-year-old Christian Christianson were enjoying a peaceful game of dodgeball in the backyard on Sunday, a game that nearly turned deadly for these cousins on Father's Day.

"There was a lot of bullets trying to shoot at us, and we were scared and didn't know what to do," Kyla said.

They quickly ran inside.

"We weren't playing actual dodgeball, just like, actually dodging the bullets," Kyla said.

Christian's mom, Mandi Christianson, counted the bullet holes in her fence. Police believe a total of 13 shots were fired through the fence.

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"I don't know anyone who is going to get angry and shoot at a fence with kids in the backyard," Mandi Christianson said. "They were loud; we could hear the kids in the house, so it's not like the person out here didn't hear there were children in the backyard."

She was watching the kids from the window and watched one of the bullets fly right over her son. Kyla was hit with debris as the bullets made contact with items in the yard.

"Stupidity to shoot their gun inside a fence, seeing the children playing," said Kyla's mother, Amanda. "There's no way you can miss it."

Police first investigated if the shooting was a targeted attack. Mandi Christianson is the mother of Valentin Mendoza — the man charged with murder for killing two teens in a car crash.

"I tried my hardest not to think that they would not want to do something like that to a child or to our home," Mandi Christianson said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, police said that was not the reason for the shooting. They arrested 26-year-old Kyle Genes. Police say the shooting was related to a domestic dispute that occurred elsewhere in the city, and the home was randomly targeted.

Genes is facing four counts of reckless endangerment because bullets also hit the home next door where two kids were jumping on a trampoline. He will make his first court appearance Wednesday.

"I don't know if it's something I believe," said Mandi Christianson.

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"I don't understand why he was shooting at us when he was mad at his girlfriend," Kyla said.

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