At a news conference on Wednesday, North Dakota authorities said that the shooter responsible for the death of a Fargo Police Department officer and the injury of two other officers used 1,800 rounds of ammunition, a grenade and other explosives to unleash a “murderous barrage of fire.”
Mohamad Barakat, 37, was fatally shot by Officer Zachary Robinson, 31, authorities said. Officer Jake Wallin, 23, was killed, while officers Andrew Dotas, 28, and Tyler Hawes, 22, were critically injured. A woman was also shot, but authorities have not said who shot her.
Official portraits of Fargo, N.D., police officers involved in a shooting a day earlier are displayed during a news conference, Saturday, July 15, 2023, at Fargo City Hall. (AP Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)
Fargo’s police chief has said Barakat’s motive was unclear.
“In the wake of Mohamad Barakat’s murderous, unprovoked attack, Officer Zach Robinson’s use of deadly force was reasonable, it was necessary, it was justified, and in all ways, it was lawful,” North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley told reporters. “Mohamad Barakat engaged in a savage attack. … He unleashed what can only be described fairly as a murderous barrage of fire. But that isn’t to say it wasn’t precise. In fact, it was.”
This photo released by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, shows the cache of weapons and ammunition that authorities recovered from the car of a man who opened fire on Fargo, N.D., police officers on Friday, July 14. (North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation via AP)
This photo released by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, shows a homemade grenade that authorities recovered from the car of a man who opened fire on Fargo, N.D., police officers on Friday, July 14. (North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation via AP)
Wrigley said Barakat also had a “shooting vest” that wasn’t bulletproof, but had magazines in every pocket, and he had a suitcase of weapons, which he had rolled out of his apartment right before getting into his car. There was no mention of whether Barakat had any protective gear.
“When you look at the amount of ammunition this shooter had in his car, he was planning on more mayhem in our community,” Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said. Police Chief David Zibolski said Barakat’s target was unknown.
The intersection of 25th Street South and 9th Avenue South are seen on Saturday, July 15, 2023, in Fargo, N.D., where one police officer was fatally shot and two others were wounded a day earlier. (AP Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)
Wrigley said Robinson displayed “absolute courage under fire” as he moved away from the cover of his vehicle and exchanged fire with Barakat, including a shot that “incapacitated” the suspect’s rifle — leaving roughly 20 rounds unused that could have been fired at other people.
“’Put down the gun,’ He does not. And the threat was neutralized by the officer,” the attorney general said.
A memorial begins to take shape, Saturday, July 15, 2023, in Fargo, N.D., where one police officer was fatally shot and two others were critically wounded a day earlier (AP Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)
Shortly after the shooting, authorities, including the FBI, converged on a residential area about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away and evacuated residents of an apartment building to gather what they said was related evidence. Wrigley said Wednesday that authorities found more firearms at the apartment.
The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI are still investigating.