WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 24, 2011, 07:15 PM

Witnesses recount experiences in Valley City shooting

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Witnesses say they were inches from being hit as they described the Valley City shootings today.

Witnesses say they were inches from being hit as they described the Valley City shootings today. Authorities say Matt Schafer opened fire on Dakota Silver liquor store and Brothers 3 gas station while it was full of customers. Some in Valley City say they are lucky to be alive...

Ron Peterson – Co-Owner Brothers III: "When we finally figured out they were gun shots, we went Oh my god, now what."

Ron Peterson didn't know what had hit him until a customer called out "gun shots", a scary moment.

Ron Peterson: "Yes it was. I don't want to go through that again."

What he felt was debris from the ceiling falling on him from three bullets that lodged in the ceiling a few feet above his head. He and his brother Jim were working behind the counter with a store full of customers as a gunman drove by in a pick up and fired 3 shots just above the window. Across the street, Ron's niece was working behind the counter as the gunman fired another shot through the window of Dakota Silver. That shot, eye level and in the path of an employee running a credit card who missed the bullet by inches.

Jim Peterson – Co-Owner Brothers III: "If a guy got down to it, it was probably a tenth of a second he had just turned."

Police say the shooting rampage came to an end here when the shooter crashed his truck in to this telephone pole. When police got on the scene the shooter was dead inside. WDAY Six News was able to confirm the identity of the shooter with family as Valley City native Matt Schaefer. Authorities wouldn't confirm or deny that.

But as luck would have it, a full parking lot, Jim and Ron Peterson say made the shooter aim high. So for the Peterson family there’s a new appreciation on life tonight.

Jim Peterson: "If either one of those bullets came down, he'd a hit somebody. He couldn't miss. I'm just thankful that nobody got hurt."