You’d think that North Dakota—with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, fourth-lowest population, and highest percentage of churchgoers—wouldn’t see much crime. You’d be right, but it does happen occasionally. Fortunately, North Dakota’s large population of outdoorsmen and self-sufficient rural residents has fostered a strong gun culture—which helped ensure these Peace Garden State residents had the upper hand when things became decidedly less peaceful.
An 82-year-old couple was asleep in their home in Jamestown, N.D., when the wife heard a noise and went to investigate. Having not found anything suspicious, the wife went into the bathroom. While she was inside the bathroom, someone attempted to open the door. At first she thought it was her husband, but when she went back to the bedroom and saw that he was fast asleep, she awoke him and told him there was an intruder. The husband retrieved a handgun and captured the intruder, holding him until police arrived. The home invader has been charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief. (The Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks, N.D., 10/01/11)
Iraq veteran Chris Seil reacted immediately when he heard shattering glass followed by a woman's scream outside his Bismarck, N.D., home. Retrieving a handgun, he went outside and confronted a 19-year-old, who then fled. Seil chased him down and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. The suspect was later charged with several offenses, including burglary and terrorizing. (Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, N.D., 07/27/04)
Kim Fedje shot and killed two dogs that had viciously attacked a herd of 13 llamas in her care before turning and charging her. Fedje was out on her morning rounds feeding the animals. As she approached the llamas, she noticed they were huddled together in a defensive stance. That’s when she saw two dogs circling the herd. When she called out to the llamas, the dogs turned in her direction. "I could hear them growling from 40 yards away," Fedje recalled. "They were making a beeline for me. I thought I was dead." Fedje reacted by firing her rifle at the attacking dogs. The first dog fell after two or three shots, the second dog continued toward her until she had emptied her gun. Fedje called her fiancé who went back out with her to examine the animals. All 13 llamas had suffered dog bites. The dogs, a labrador/rottweiler mix, belonged to a neighbor who had taken them out for a walk the night before. Both animals had run off into a cornfield and did not return. (The Forum, Fargo, N.D., 10/30/03)
After his son alerted him to a gunfight in progress near their home, Michael McIntee of Towner, N.D., grabbed a .22-250 rifle and went to investigate. He found a county sheriff wounded and a man threatening to kill a woman and two children. Believing the sheriff dead, McIntee fired once, hitting the man. The woman began to flee, and the man shot at her. McIntee fired once more, stopping the attack. The man, who turned out to be the woman's ex-husband, then turned his own gun on himself. He had a history of spousal abuse and violence. McIntee said, "My goal was to prevent him from killing her and the kids." (The Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks, N.D., 10/15/97)
Roger Untersehr credits his dog with alerting him to a break-in at his Fargo, N.D., home. "The dog has a funny bark when there's a prowler," he said. Waking up when the dog barked, Untersehr saw a man in his bedroom. He picked up a pistol kept near his bed, ordered the man to the floor and held him for police. (The Forum, Fargo, N.D., 08/10/91)
With his wife screaming at an intruder hiding in their Bismarck, N.D., home, Hal Peterson grabbed an unloaded revolver from a gun cabinet and ordered the man out. When the stranger lunged at him, Peterson slapped his hand away with the gun barrel, then stepped back and cocked his pistol. The man fled. Police captured a suspect a short distance away, recovering a $5,000 ring belonging to Peterson's wife and charging the individual, who had been released from jail the day before, with two felony counts of burglary. (Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, N.D., 06/17/88)
Asleep in his isolated rural home near Fort Yates, N.D., Dick Barrett was awakened when both front and back doors crashed in and four men appeared, threatening his family with clubs and axes. But Barrett grabbed his revolver, and when the fight was over one intruder was dead, two of them were wounded, and the Barretts were unharmed. (Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, N.D., 03/26/86)