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Victim, shot in face, hit accelerator as passenger steered car away from alleged assailants

Matt Peterson, Austin Daily Herald, Minn. –

As a group of three people tried to drive away from a property northeast of Lansing, MN on Thursday, the homeowner allegedly came outside with a rifle, fired at the car, shattered the driver’s window and struck the driver in the face.

The driver, a 30-year-old woman, reportedly slumped over but managed to hit the accelerator as the man in the passenger seat grabbed the wheel and steered as they drove away, still allegedly being shot at by Daniel Robert Peterson, 62.

That, according to the Mower County Court complaint released Friday afternoon, is what happened Thursday at Peterson’s home at 29077 560th Ave. four miles northeast of Lansing. Peterson and Joseph Daniel Peterson, 27, made their first appearance in Mower County Court on Friday, for charges including second-degree attempted murder for Daniel, and three counts of second-degree assault for Joseph, who also allegedly fired shots at the car.

According to the court complaint, the three alleged victims drove to the Petersons’ home to hang out with Joseph. However, victims say Joseph acted strangely when he saw one of them, began kicking a tree, ran into a garage and then fired shots at their car with a rifle. He then ran into the house, and Daniel came out with a rifle and began shooting, according to the report.

After driving away, the passenger switched seats with the injured woman and drove her to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, where officials locked down the facility for about a half hour as Mower County deputies searched for the Petersons. The report adds that although the gunshot shattered some of the woman’s teeth, she was still able to give an account of what happened to a detective.

She was later airlifted to St. Marys Hospital, where she is still listed in critical condition; however, Sheriff Terese Amazi said hospital personnel reported the victim will recover.

Authorities then went to the Peterson home where they arrested Joseph, who had a .22 caliber rifle, according to the complaint. After roughly an hour, Daniel allegedly exited the house and turned himself in.

As authorities were transporting Daniel to jail, he allegedly said “all this for us trying to get people off our property.” In court, he said, “They were trespassing on my property; they were warned several times.”

According to Minnesota statute 609.065 which Amazi also referenced, deadly force is only justified to prevent “great bodily harm or death,” or in preventing a felony inside the person’s home.

Daniel was also charged with first-degree assault with intent to cause great bodily harm and three counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon — both felonies. Joseph, previously convicted of a first-degree drug crime in Olmsted County, was also charged as a felon — convicted of a violent crime — in possession of a gun.

Both men are held on $500,000 bail, and both are scheduled for their next hearings on Nov. 19.

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