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Bond set at $250K for attempted murder suspect

North Dakota Southwest District Judge Zane Anderson set bail for attempted murder suspect Robert York at $250,000 during an initial appearance at the Stark County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.

York, 44, was officially charged with attempted murder earlier in the day. Fingering York as the "trigger man" in an apparent New Year's Eve bar fight where York is alleged to have attempted to shoot a Gladstone man in the face from point blank range with a sawed-off shotgun, Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning told the court he was "concerned for the safety of the community," which allegedly took place at the Enchanted Hideaway Bar in Gladstone late Monday or early Tuesday morning.

Appearing via video from the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center, York was flanked by brothers Rusty Shields, 25, and Ryan Shields, 24, who were both charged Thursday for being accomplices to the alleged crime. Cash bonds of $100,000 were set for the Shields brothers.

Shackled and wearing orange jumpsuits, York, an Arizona resident, and the Shields, both from Iowa, were seen on the court video board leaning in as Henning described a chaotic scene in which some combination of the three carried Justin Willis out of the bar before York fired at least one shot at Willis' face. Henning said Willis received only minor injuries to his face and was not hospitalized.

"This came very near to being a murder charge as opposed to an attempted murder charge," Henning told the court. "From the information I've received, Mr. York came out with a sawed-off 20-gauge shotgun and attempted to shoot the victim in the face. The victim does have a pellet in his face below his left eye and what appears to be a powder burn on his face."

From information he has received, Henning said the three had been doing concrete work in the area, but had been laid off. York and the two brothers were apprehended in a van with two women and three children on a rural gravel road early Tuesday morning.

"Following this incident, they immediately returned to where their camper trailers were parked in the yard of a local citizen," Henning said. "They then loaded their girlfriends and children into the van and attempted to leave the area. They were unable to leave the area only because of the intervention of law enforcement."

Henning -- who said all three suspects were "highly intoxicated" at the time of the alleged crime -- said the case is still being investigated and further charges are possible. Henning added that York has previously served time in another state on an aggravated assault charge. All three said they wished to apply for court-appointed legal representation.

It is unknown if there is any relation between York and the two younger men.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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