New Brighton shooting leaves one dead, injures another

'I don't even own a gun.'

Neal Zumberge, speaking on neighbor-deer issue in 2012

Knollwood Drive neighbors had feud over deer feeding

A dispute between New Brighton homeowners turned deadly the evening of May 5 after a man reportedly shot two of his neighbors, killing one.

Around 8:30 p.m., police were called to the 2500 block of Knollwood Drive near Silver Lake Road and County Road H on reports that two people had been shot by a neighbor. Upon arrival, officers discovered a man was dead from gunshot wounds, and a woman had also been shot. Authorities said she was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where her condition is unknown.

About an hour after the shooting occurred, the suspect, Neal Curtis Zumberge, 57, reportedly called police and turned himself in. He is currently in custody.

Police say the woman who was shot had an active restraining order against Zumberge.

The victims have not yet been identified.

From outside the house, bullet holes can be seen in the aluminum front storm door and siding. Shattered glass covers the front step. Interior photos reveal myriad bullet holes.

Flashpoint: feeding deer

Zumberge and his neighbors on Knollwood Drive close to Rice Creek Trail were reportedly involved in an ongoing dispute over the feeding of deer.

An article in the Dec. 19, 2012, edition of the Bulletin sheds some light on the situation, when at the time Zumberge admitted to writing and distributing a rambling, anti-deer letter calling an anonymous neighbor "Mr. Corn" and describing the types of diseases deer can carry.

The neighbor told the Bulletin that he bought corn to feed to the deer and enjoyed watching wildlife. He said at the time that a feeder in his yard had been torn down and destroyed. He claimed dead birds and squirrels had been killed by a pellet gun and left in his yard, and a pair of deer legs had been found by his back door.

The situation appeared to have escalated the morning of Nov. 28, 2012, when people in the neighborhood woke up to the sight of a dead doe and fawn in the man's yard. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources investigated the matter, but was unable to determine the cause of the animals' deaths.

Zumberge's statements in 2012

At that time, Zumberge said he wasn't to blame. He told the Bulletin, "I don't even own a gun," and said that his dog, Rowdy, sometimes pulled dead animals, or parts of dead animals, out of the nearby woods.

He told the Bulletin that he had taken measures to attempt to keep the herd of deer from running through his yard on their way to "Mr. Corn's" feeder by blocking their paths, but these measures had been unsuccessful.

For their part, the man feeding the deer and his girlfriend expressed alarm about the discovery of dead animals in their yard and were concerned about gunfire.

Zumberge has a former misdemeanor second-degree assault conviction from 1987. Court records show he was sentenced to serve six months in the Hennepin County Workhouse. He was discharged from probation in 1991.

Records also show that Zumberge was arrested in 2013 on reports of harassment.

The Dec. 19, 2012, Bulletin article, "A mystery on Knollwood Drive" can be found at: http://www.lillienews.com/content/mystery-knollwood-drive#.U2j6s_ldVE1.

Denny Lynard contributed to this report.
Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.
 

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