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Woman accused of trying to shoot Minnesota trooper outside Moorhead charged with attempted murder

Domonique Clayton1 / 2
Melody Victoria Gray2 / 2

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A woman accused of trying to shoot a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in the head near Moorhead faces felony charges of attempted murder, receiving stolen property and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a Clay County District Court filing made Thursday, March 8.

Melody Victoria Gray, 30, of Milwaukee, Wis., who was shot in the arm by Trooper Mark Peterson during the incident Monday, March 5, was hospitalized at Essentia Health in Fargo for treatment of her wound. Clay County Jail staff said Gray was still at Essentia Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors are recommending that a judge set her bail at $1 million without conditions, and $600,000 with requirements to stay in Minnesota and other conditions, court documents said.

Gray also has a warrant for her arrest from Wisconsin for kidnapping and being a felon in possession of a firearm, court documents said. Her criminal history includes convictions for possession with intent to sell cocaine and felony possession of marijuana.

About 10:10 a.m. Monday, Trooper Peterson stopped to help Gray and her male passenger, Domonique Maurice Crayton, 29, also of Milwaukee, who were in a car that had slid into the median of Interstate 94 a few miles east of Moorhead.

The car, which was westbound before the crash, came to a stop facing east against the median barrier, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Peterson activated his squad car camera to capture video and audio, court documents said. In checking Gray and Crayton's identification and the vehicle identification number, Peterson learned the car had been reported stolen in Germantown, Wis., and he positioned his squad car to prevent the disabled car from driving away. Peterson then asked Crayton to get out of the car, the BCA said.

As Peterson tried to handcuff Crayton, Gray got out of the driver's seat and, with her right arm extended, pointed a 9mm handgun at the trooper's head and appeared to pull the trigger, court documents said.

The gun, however, did not fire. The trooper then pulled himself and Crayton away toward the back of the car, and put Crayton to the ground, court documents said.

Meanwhile, Gray tried to manipulate the handgun to chamber a round and raised the gun again toward the trooper. The trooper then fired his gun and hit her in the right arm, court documents said.

Gray then dropped the gun, ran across I-94 and north into a field, court documents and the BCA said. A snowplow clearing the westbound lanes stopped about 50 yards past the incident scene.

Trooper Peterson handcuffed Crayton and left him on his stomach behind the car. Peterson then ran to the snowplow and recovered a gun, which was under the plow, the BCA said.

Meanwhile, Gray collapsed in the field. Other officers from the State Patrol, Clay County Sheriff's Office, and Fargo and Dilworth police departments arrived and took Gray into custody, the BCA said.

Gray was given medical attention until an ambulance arrived, and she was taken to Essentia for treatment. Peterson was not injured, the BCA said.

The shooting was captured on squad car video, but there was no body camera video, the BCA said.

Crayton appeared in court Wednesday, March 7, on felony charges of first-degree damage to property and receiving stolen property (a motor vehicle), as well as misdemeanor counts of giving a peace officer false information and obstructing the legal process.

Crayton is also being sought by Milwaukee County, Wis., authorities on a warrant for felony charges of kidnapping, human trafficking, second-degree sexual assault and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Bail tied to his Milwaukee County warrant was set at $100,000. For the Clay County charges, bail was set at $50,000 without conditions or $30,000 with conditions. He was being held Thursday at the Clay County Jail.

Gray's first court appearance has not yet been scheduled. Court records did not list attorneys for her or Crayton to represent them on the Clay County charges.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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