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Small North Dakota Town In Shock After Teens Shoot, Kill Woman In Car Juveniles Were Prowling Around Quiet Neighborhood

Fri., Nov. 17, 1995

Cherryl and Selmer Tendeland had given a friend a ride home from a prayer service and were in their car talking, police say, when they saw some teenagers prowling around the neighborhood. They decided to follow the youngsters.

As they turned a corner less than a block away, a youth with a 12-gauge shotgun walked up and fired through the car window.

Cherryl Tendeland, 50, was killed and her 51-year-old husband was wounded.

Four juveniles were arrested about two hours later in neighboring Moorhead, Minn. A fifth juvenile was arrested Thursday afternoon. The suspects ranged in age from 15 to 17.

The shooting late Wednesday sent shock waves through this community of 12,000. It’s the type of crime that happens in places like New York and Los Angeles, not here, in an area known as a quiet residential neighborhood, people said.

“These people lived in that neighborhood. They were just concerned about their neighborhood,” said West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rasmussen. “I would assume most of us would have done exactly the same thing, because we live in a type of neighborhood where we don’t expect this to happen.”

After the shooting, Tendeland drove to a convenience store and called for help. He suffered superficial wounds from shotgun pellets, police said. A passenger in the back seat, Connie Guler, 48, of West Fargo, was not injured.

Guler remembered the gunman’s eyes.

“Our eyes just met,” Guler said. “I mean, it was such a close range … All I know are these big, dark eyes. He just pulled the gun. It was just like, ‘snap, snap.’ And I said, ‘He’s going to shoot.”’

Tendeland, his left eye bandaged, said, “When she hollered, ‘Shoot,’ I (accelerated) and then, bang. The glass shattered.”

Rasmussen said the suspects, from Moorhead and Fargo, were also being questioned in connection with an armed robbery Tuesday night.

Charges were expected to be filed today, assistant state’s attorney Steve Dawson said.

A new state law allows juvenile older than 14 who are charged with murder to be tried as an adult.

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