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Man enters plea in Swift County drive-by shooting

BENSON -- Charles Elmer Hoberg, 39, of Benson, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of dangerous weapons/drive-by shooting toward a motor vehicle or building for his role in shooting up a rural Benson man's home and attempting to run the man over with a vehicle.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Swift County District Court, two additional felony charges, for second-degree assault and possession of a pistol or assault weapon after conviction for a violent crime, will be dismissed. Hoberg will be sentenced on Dec. 7 and is expected to serve three years in prison.

Hoberg's co-defendant, David Gonzalez, 19, of Benson, faces two felony charges for drive-by shooting and second-degree assault, plus three counts of driving while impaired and open bottle charges. He failed to appear for a court hearing in August and there is a warrant for his arrest, according to Harry Hohman, assistant county attorney. The charges were filed after July 24, when a Swift County Sheriff's deputy was dispatched around 11:50 p.m. to a report that there were gunshots fired and cars chasing each other in the Swift Falls area.

At 12:03 a.m., a 911 call was received from a rural Benson address and a man reported he had fired on a car after almost being struck by the vehicle.

The man also reported he had an altercation with Hoberg earlier that day and had sprayed Hoberg with mace. The man, Hoberg and several others had been at the Swift Falls Bar and left. The man reported he was pulling into his driveway, saw headlights coming and a white car accelerating toward him.

The car sideswiped his vehicle and he had to jump behind it to avoid being hit. He said he saw a person in the back turning around in the back seat and believed he saw a weapon.

The man, who is licensed to carry a firearm, fired a handgun four times at the vehicle.

He then went to the house and found numerous bullet holes in the home, which were not there earlier in the evening.

The white car was stopped a short time later in Benson. Gonzalez was identified as the driver and Hoberg as a rear seat passenger, and the officer observed two rifles in the back seat. The front seat passenger was not charged in the incident.