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Man charged after East Hillside shots-fired incident

Valentino Disalvo Dodge allegedly fled the area before police arrived on the scene following a domestic violence-related gunfire incident.

Police advance on a building at night
Duluth Police Department personnel advance on a building on the 700 block of East First Street on Sunday night, May 8. Officers responded to a shots fired call at the location and spent more than six hours attempting to apprehend a man after evacuating the block.
Jamey Malcomb / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — A man faces three felony charges and a misdemeanor following an incident in East Hillside that resulted in police blockading a building and evacuating neighbors for nearly six hours Sunday.

Valentino Disalvo Dodge, 36, of Duluth, was charged with making threats of violence, intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety and reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality Thursday in Sixth District Judicial Court. He was also charged with misdemeanor domestic assault.

Valentino Disalvo Dodge 2022 mugshot
Valentino Disalvo Dodge

According to the criminal complaint, the Duluth Police Department responded to a report of shots being fired in a residence at 5:53 p.m. Sunday on the 700 block of East First Street in the East Hillside neighborhood.

Dodge’s girlfriend reported the incident and when officers arrived on the scene they got her to a secure area and attempted to contact Dodge.

The woman said she and Dodge have a five-year relationship and lived together with no issues until he began drinking heavily a few months ago, the complaint said. Dodge developed an issue with alcohol, according to the complaint, and she told police he has recklessly discharged BB guns in their home while drunk.

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She said Dodge was intoxicated when she returned home Sunday, and she told him she was going to leave for the evening. While packing a coffee pot, the woman claimed Dodge walked from the living room to the bedroom, and shortly after she heard multiple shots and smelled the odor of gunsmoke, according to the complaint.

The woman said she was terrified and didn’t know if he was shooting at her because she couldn’t see him.

After he allegedly fired the shots, Dodge walked into the kitchen where she was and looked at the wall separating the kitchen and bedroom and “chuckled” and commented that the shots didn’t go through the wall, the complaint said.

The woman said she believed he was trying to scare her by firing the gun because he was angry with her, according to the complaint.

In an interview with police, Dodge claimed he fired the gun into the floor twice after she was gone.

After the woman left the building, tactical response and crisis teams from several agencies — including the Superior Police Department’s BearCat tactical vehicle — staged outside the building.

Following nearly six hours of attempting to coax Dodge out of the building, police officers used the BearCat to break windows and a door. A tactical team then breached the building, only to find Dodge had fled the area prior to police arriving.

Officers made phone contact with the man and he was arrested about 2 miles away.

Dodge was finally located and met with police at approximately 12:12 a.m. Monday at the M&H gas station on Michigan Street, according to the complaint — about the same time as the building was breached.

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Investigators said they recovered a firearm from the residence in the location where Dodge said he left it. Three spent shell casings were also recovered from a rear hallway leading to the bedroom and it was determined the trajectory of the shots was at the wall and not the floor, as claimed by Dodge.

If convicted on the threats of violence charge, Dodge faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Each discharge of a firearm charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Jamey Malcomb has been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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