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Dispute Over Deer Feeding Leads to Fatal Shooting in Minnesota

Dispute Over Deer Feeding Leads to Fatal Shooting in Minnesota

A dispute between neighbors over deer feeding in a suburb near Minneapolis resulted in a fatal shooting that left one dead.

The shooter, 57-year-old Jacob Zumberge, had a long-standing grudge against his two neighbors over feeding deer on their property in New Brighton.

On Monday morning, Zumberge’s grudge turned into violent action when he opened fire on the couple with a 12-gauge shotgun, reported local news.

Zumberge’s neighbor, 46-year-old Todd Stevens, was rushed to the hospital, but did not survive. Stevens’ girlfriend, Jennifer Damerow Cleven, 58, sustained gunshot wounds but was released from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

Zumberge is currently in police custody.

So how could a dispute over deer feeding drive someone to murder?

While feeding deer is legal in Minnesota, it enraged Zumberge.

RELATED: Earlier this winter, Minnesota enacted an emergency deer feeding program. 

“He hated deer. He hated deer with a passion,” neighbor Bob Comer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.”

Zumberge began voicing his distaste for the his neighbor’s deer feeding in a 2012 letter addressed to residents of the neighborhood.

“In particular, this letter’s focus is Todd Stevens (Mr. Corn),” the letter read. “For years Mr. Corn has been feeding deer with blatant disregard for his neighbors well being.”

The letter also included Zumberge’s medical record that showed he and his dog had been treated by lyme disease, a deer-borne illness.

Zumberge eventually became more and more aggressive. He reportedly shot and killed animals, including deer, and left them on Steven’s lawn and driveway. Last year, Damerow Cleven’s obtained a restraining order against Zumberge, which he violated last August.

The shooting may have been ignited by a dispute between Zumberge’s son and Stevens at a nearby VFW Post a week earlier. In that incident, Zumberge’s son threatened to burn down Stevens’s home, according to lomporecord.com.

While it’s unclear what exactly caused Zumberge to open fire on his neighbors, one thing is clear: a dispute over deer feeding is no reason to take a life.

What do you think about this dispute over deer feeding? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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About Matt Alpert

Matt Alpert is a staff writer for Wide Open Spaces. Get more from him on Twitter and Google+
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