Man accused of killing North Dakota officer has long record

A man accused of fatally shooting a North Dakota police officer has an extensive criminal record that includes charges for interfering with police, fleeing, domestic assault and harassing public officials, court documents show.

According to police, Salamah Pendleton opened fire Wednesday afternoon on two county sheriff’s deputies and two city police officers who tried to serve eviction papers on him at an apartment in Grand Forks. One of the officers was killed and a woman was found shot to death in the apartment. 

Authorities have not released the name of the officer who was killed. Details about the woman, her relationship to Pendleton and how she was killed also have not been provided.

Pendleton, 41, was shot and wounded, as was a sheriff’s deputy who is in stable condition. Pendleton has not been charged in the shooting.

Report: 4 shot, 2 officers injured in Grand Forks shooting

But court documents show Pendleton has been charged with dozens of offenses in the last 20 years, mostly misdemeanors and the majority of them while he lived in Iowa. He has been arrested numerous times for driving under suspension and driving without insurance, including last year in Grand Forks.

The officer who died was the first killed on-duty in Grand Forks since 1966, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page website. It is the 33rd gunfire-related death of a North Dakota peace officer since the 1870s and the 58th overall death, the site shows.

On Wednesday night, about 50 first responders formed a procession through the city with emergency lights activated to honor the fallen officer, and the Grand Forks Police Department was lit up blue. Hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight vigil in the parking lot of Altru Hospital in Grand Forks where the injured sheriff's deputy was being treated. 

Grand Forks police and sheriff’s officials held a news conference Wednesday night to memorialize the officer, but did not provide more information about the shooting or those involved. Police have scheduled another news conference for Thursday afternoon.

“There’s a hole in my heart that can never be plugged," police Chief Mark Nelson said. “These people wear a badge, these people protect your community, these people ask for nothing in return other than an honest salary. Remember, it is not how this officer died, it is how this officer lived that made him a true hero.”

Gov. Doug Burgum said the U.S. and state flags will be flown at half-staff from dawn to dusk on the day of the fallen officer’s burial.