Chisago County man accused of shooting 2 motorists stuck in snowy ditch

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SHAFER TOWNSHIP - A Chisago County man was charged with assault Thursday after police say he shot two men who were trying to push a vehicle out of a ditch near his home earlier this week.

Tony James Vondelinde, 54, allegedly yelled at the men to get off his property before firing a shotgun at them, striking one man in the face and chest. The incident happened about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, court documents say.

The two men were passengers in a Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling south on Herberg Road near Lake Boulevard, when the driver decided road conditions were too hazardous to continue. She attempted to turn around in Vondelinde’s driveway, but got stuck in the ditch, according to court documents.

While the two passengers attempted to push the Jeep out of the ditch, Vondelinde allegedly approached them and yelled, “Get the hell off my property.” He then fired at them several times with a shotgun, charges say.

Both men were able to get back into the Jeep and called 911 from a nearby park, where they met with Chisago County sheriff’s deputies. Paramedics who evaluated the men found BB-like projectiles in the face, chest, legs and right arm of one of them, and similar projectiles lodged in the jeans of the other, court documents say.

The Chisago County SWAT team and crisis negotiators arrived and attempted to contact the occupant of the home where the men said they were shot. Vondelinde eventually came out and was taken into custody without further incident, according to the sheriff’s office.

He told investigators he fired his shotgun in the air and said it was inside his home in a case, court documents say. Inside the house, investigators found a 20-gauge Remington 870 shotgun with two unused shells and one spent shell in it, according to court documents. They also found two more spent 20-gauge shells outside the house, charges say.

Vondelinde was booked into the Chisago County Jail and charged Thursday with three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.