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North Dakota sheriff investigates report of attack on pipeline protester, gunfire

MORTON COUNTY, N.D. -- North Dakota authorities are investigating a weekend incident in which pipeline protesters said a woman was struck by a man driving a truck who drove over her feet and fired shots into the air.

MORTON COUNTY, N.D. - North Dakota authorities are investigating a weekend incident in which pipeline protesters said a woman was struck by a man driving a truck who drove over her feet and fired shots into the air.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate what occurred, spokesman Rob Keller Monday, Nov. 14.

Early on Saturday, protesters against the oil pipeline near sacred tribal lands briefly blocked two entrances to a work yard near Mandan, causing workers to leave the area.

Videos and pictures posted online show a man in a white vehicle holding a handgun and yelling obscenities while driving forward through a crowd of protesters. One video shows the man later raising his gun into the air and firing several shots, although it is not clear from the video whether any protesters were nearby at the time. The man was not identified.

A female protester who reported an injury refused treatment when told an ambulance was on the way, Keller said.

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The circumstances of the injury were not clear, but one video shows the man striking a woman while she hangs off the truck's side-view mirror. Protesters said on Facebook that a woman's hand had been smashed, requiring three stitches on a finger, and that her feet had been run over. The woman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The driver reported he was physically attacked by protesters, Keller said. The vehicle was vandalized and the driver reported some of his equipment was stolen.

The driver was not an employee of Dakota Access Pipeline, Keller said.

Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the company leading the construction of the pipeline, said the man with the gun "is not associated with the pipeline project in any way."

"It is my understanding he lives in the area and was just trying to get where he needed to go and felt threatened," Granado said in an email.

Protests have sometimes turned violent over the $3.8 billion Dakota Access construction project, which has drawn steady opposition from Native American and environmental activists since the summer.

Last month, a demonstrator was charged with the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Authorities said she fired at a police officer three times during a struggle without hitting him.

The 1,172-mile pipeline, being built by a group of companies led by Energy Transfer Partners LP, would offer the fastest and most direct route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

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Related Topics: DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINECRIME
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