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Somerset man charged in drive-by shooting

James Hendershot

A Florida man living in Somerset shot up vehicles and a house last month, according to documents filed last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

St. Croix County prosecutors allege James M. Hendershot was responsible for damage inflicted during a drive-by shooting along Abby Lane in Somerset. The 30-year-old, who told police he moved from Florida to Somerset, was charged with three counts of felony discharging a firearm from a vehicle and multiple misdemeanors stemming from the Feb. 4 incident. Misdemeanor charges include contributing to the delinquency of a child.

No one was injured in the incident.

Judge Michael Waterman ordered Hendershot to post $7,500 cash bond at his March 2 initial appearance. St. Croix County Assistant District Attorney Alexis McKinley noted at the hearing that Hendershot had been placed on probation Feb. 15 for a disorderly conduct conviction from last year.

According to a criminal complaint:

Somerset police were called last month to a home in the 400 block of Abby Lane for reports of damage to vehicles. The back window of a Chevy Yukon was found shot out, as was a Cadillac Escalade. Five bullet holes were also found in an attached garage, along with a bullet hole above a picture window in the house.

Police later spoke with Hendershot, who initially denied any involvement with the shooting. He told police he'd been fishing that night with a teenager he knew.

Officers then interviewed that boy, who at first said he'd been fishing on the night in question with Hendershot.

They then asked the boy if anyone had contacted him before he came in for his interview. He said no, but later allowed police to view his text messages. Police found a text from Hendershot saying "Hey if the cops call you we were fishing from 4:30 till 11 Saturday night ok."

The teen then told police he was forced by Hendershot and another boy to go with them as they drove to Abby Lane. Hendershot, who was driving, shot at cars with a .22-caliber rifle near a house in the 400 block, the boy told officers. He said the other teen was shooting at homes and vehicles with an air pistol.

Hendershot made several passes by the house, the boy reported, later adding that Hendershot told him not to say anything about the incident.

Police then interviewed the second boy, who said Hendershot had been punched in the face by one of the men who later reported having a vehicle shot up. That boy told police how Hendershot was from Miami, "and in Florida, they get even with people that cross them," the complaint states.

That teen went on to describe how Hendershot used a .22 to shoot out car windows in the 400 block of Abby Lane. He said the other boy was the one shooting the air pistol — not him.

In an interview with police, Hendershot's fiancee said she came home later that night to find her car with all four windows down, damage to the front end and bullet casings inside it.

Police then executed a search warrant at Hendershot's apartment, where he was arrested. He was interviewed again and told police that he drank the equivalent of 50 vodka shots that night before taking the teenagers with him as he drove around.

Hendershot said he remembered crashing the car's front end into a snowbank before going home to "black out." He admitted to lying about his initial alibi and that he'd told the teens not to discuss the incident because he didn't want to go back to prison.

Hendershot admitted "it was possible" what the teens reported had happened because of his level of intoxication.

A preliminary hearing was set for Friday, March 9.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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