According to the charges, Pickering shot the girl four times, including twice in the chest. Thankfully, she's expected to live.
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After she was shot, the girl told police, "The neighborhood had been having problems with an individual who lived three doors south of her."
"She said she did not know the person's name, but that he had been repeatedly riding his lawn mower through her yard and that he routinely carried a pistol in a holster while riding a lawn mower," the criminal complaint says. "She said that she had spoken to the individual about trespassing, and that he stated that he was not trespassing on her property."
Investigators got a search warrant for Pickering's residence, where they allegedly found the Kimber .45 caliber semi-automatic used in the shooting.
Under questioning, Pickering first said "he had not left his house that day and had not gotten into an argument with any of his neighbors," but told about the gun evidence implicating him in the shooting, he quickly changed his story.
From the complaint:
When officers pointed out the inconsistencies in his statement, Pickering said that he would give officers "the honest story". He said that he had taken his children for a ride with the lawn mower and that after he returned home a girl came to the front door and threatened him. He said that the girl confroned him about trespassing and said that if she saw him back on the property she was going to take action. Pickering said that he then went over to the house and knelt down by a pine tree "... and I waited, and I waited, and I waited." He said that after 15 to 20 minutes the front door opened and the girl came out and that he shot her. He said that he shot twice from a distance of 15 to 25 yards. Pickering stated that after the first shot the girl said "Oh God" and dropped down, and that he then shot her again. He said that he was very upset with the girl coming to his house and that he had a lot of thoughts racing through his mind as he was walking towards her home. When asked about the confrontation at his home, Pickering said that his family had not been directly threatened by her. He said that he was upset with the girl, and said that she was a "bitch".Pickering's Facebook page reveals a man who loved guns and may have been struggling with PTSD.
(For more, click to page two.)
The page was deleted right as we were perusing it, but thankfully Abe Sauer captured some screengrabs.
Day before allegedly shooting 17yo, Pickering wrote "VA is making my life pretty complicated"-- Abe Sauer (@abesauer) July 22, 2014
Pickering was corrections officer at Northwestern MN Juvenile Center.-- Abe Sauer (@abesauer) July 22, 2014
Here's the rant Sauer refers to in that last tweet:
FWIW, suspect of shooting Bemidji teen was VERY right wing anti-Obama https://t.co/bqVqr6V7BN-- Abe Sauer (@abesauer) July 22, 2014
Sadly, allegedly shooter of teen girl in Bemidji appears to have been Vet in PTSD treatment in VA system.-- Abe Sauer (@abesauer) July 22, 2014
Bemidji shooter was Sparta, WI native. Iraq Vet.-- Abe Sauer (@abesauer) July 22, 2014
To read the criminal complaint for yourself, click to page three.
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.