New Brighton shooting victim mourns loss of 18-year love - KMSP-TV

New Brighton shooting victim mourns loss of 18-year love

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Shooting victims Jenny Cleven and Todd Stevens Shooting victims Jenny Cleven and Todd Stevens

A New Brighton, Minn. man has been charged with murder in the deadly shooting of a neighbor linked to a years-long fight over the feeding of deer in the neighborhood, and the woman who was also injured in the shooting says she watched as the man she'd been dating for 18 years was gunned down. 

"All of a sudden, I looked over and Mr. Zumberge was standing there and he had this gun and he was cocking it," Jennifer Cleven recalled.

Neal Zumberge, 57, was charged Wednesday with one count of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree attempted murder in the shootings of Todd Stevens and his girlfriend.

"When I ran in and called 911, I wanted to come back out, but I was scared that he was gonna shoot me," Cleven said through tears. "Todd was laying there, and I didn't see him breathing."


Police were called to the 2500 block of Knollwood Drive at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 5 where they found Stevens dead of a gunshot wound and Cleven inside the house with two gunshot wounds to her abdomen.

“He shot us!” she told police. “I knew he was going to do this!

Cleven is recovering at Hennepin County Medical Center, but her exact condition is unknown.


After receiving treatment at HCMC, Cleven told police she saw Zumberge’s son, Jacob, at the Acapulco Restaurant earlier Monday evening, where he accused the couple of causing his father to contract Lyme disease and threatened to burn their house down.

"He came over behind Todd and he shoved him, and he leaned over and said some words -- some threatening words -- to us," Cleven said.

Jacob Zumberge was arrested shortly before 6 p.m. Monday.

PHOTO: Jacob Zumberge

Cleven drove home and was confronted by Paula Zumberge, who said "You f------ b----, you put my son in jail." Stevens overheard the argument and came outside, at which point Neal Zumberge emerged with a shotgun and fired several rounds. Stevens fell to the ground and Cleven retreated the house to call police after being shot in the stomach.

Cleven said she heard Paula Zumberge yelling, "Shoot, shoot, shoot. Keep shooting."

No charges have been filed against Paula Zumberge at this time.


Neal Zumberge told police he had a tumultuous relationship with Todd Stevens, dating back 15 years. He admitted to shooting Stevens with a 12-gauge shotgun, but said he didn't intend to shoot Jennifer Cleven.

PHOTO: Neal Zumberge


Neighbors told Fox 9 News they knew the dispute would likely escalate, but they never imagined it would end in fatal violence.

New Brighton police had been called to the neighborhood in the past to settle arguments, and Police Chief Bob Jacobson said Cleven has an active restraining order against Zumberge.

Jacobson added that it is legal to feed deer in the city.


A fund has been set up to help Cleven offset the cost of her medical bills as she continues to recover from the shooting. Anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so at any TCF Bank by donating to the Jennifer D. Cleven Benefit Fund.

FIRST REPORT: Neighbors' deer-feeding argument turns deadly in New Brighton

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