'Like a warzone': Investigators describe aftermath of Pendleton shootout that killed two

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Jul. 7—Two doors and a wooden table riddled with bullet holes, several bags of marijuana and the AK-74 prosecutors say was used to kill two people last spring, including a Grand Forks police officer, was among the evidence shown to jurors on the sixth day of the trial for Salamah Pendleton.

North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Special Agents Kelly Wimer and Edwin Carter each testified on Wednesday, July 7, about their investigation of the Grand Forks apartment where the fatal shooting occurred last year. In addition to the physical evidence, jurors were shown dozens of photographs of the interior and exterior of the crime scenes, which spanned three apartments in two complexes.

Among the photographed evidence included two pages out of a legal dictionary found in Pendleton's apartment. Carter testified that the dictionary had been found left open in the living room, turned to pages detailing the definitions of homicide and justifiable homicide.

Carter speculated, based on his interpretation of the evidence, that whoever was studying the legal dictionary could have been preparing themselves for some type of attack.

"It was my belief ... that someone was researching what they could do ... as if they were preparing or trying to ready themselves," he said.

Pendleton, 42, is facing two counts of murder for the deaths of his mother, Lola Moore, and Officer Cody Holte. Prosecutors allege that on May 27, 2020, two Grand Forks County Sheriff's deputies attempted to evict Pendleton and Moore from their South 17th Street apartment when Pendleton opened fire on the deputies. Two Grand Forks police officers, including Holte, responded to the shooting.

Pendleton also faces three counts of attempted murder for each of the other three officers in the apartment at the time of the shooting, as well as one count each of criminal mischief, terrorizing, reckless endangerment and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver it.

Investigators who testified on Tuesday described the scene in Pendleton's apartment after the shooting as "overwhelming," "like a warzone," and "nothing I'd ever seen before." Wimer and Carter described bullet holes from floor to ceiling, overturned furniture, broken glass, shell casings and blood pools, spatter and trails.

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Carter said it took a team of state investigators two days to process the crime scene, which included measuring, numbering, photographing and collecting evidence and creating diagrams of the scene.

Wimer noted that the nature of the bullet holes were particularly concerning to him because it was clear that they were strong enough to penetrate multiple surfaces without stopping, as seen by bullets found not only in Pendleton's apartment, but other apartments and a neighboring building.

Investigators also located several individually-packaged bags of marijuana in the living room and in a safe in Pendleton's bedroom, as well as a digital scale with marijuana residue and about $1,100.

Based on those findings, as well as text messages located on Pendleton's phone between him and individuals who seemingly wished to purchase marijuana from him, Carter testified that he believes Pendleton was selling marijuana out of the apartment.

Testimony will continue Thursday morning, July 8, when additional members of the BCI's team of investigators are expected to take the stand.

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