Fargo police officer dies, two are in critical condition following street shootout

15 July 2023

FARGO A Fargo Police officer has died, two other officers are in critical condition, a suspect has died and another civilian was seriously injured following a street shootout on Friday, July 14.

That information was released at 11:43 p.m. Friday night in a City of Fargo news release. It also said the Fargo Police Department would hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15, to provide more information.

The identities of those involved is not being released as the process of notifying family members is ongoing, the release said. It said the Fargo Police Department “acknowledges and appreciates the community’s support during this difficult time.”

Dozens of police officers and sheriff’s deputies gathered solemnly outside the emergency room at Sanford Medical Center on Friday evening.

By 9 p.m., a procession of first responders left the hospital and traveled to the Cass County coroners office at 1220 25th St. S., mere blocks from the initial shooting near 25th Street and Ninth Avenue South.

Law enforcement blocked off roads for the evening procession and two officers were seen saluting the procession for its duration.

Earlier Friday, Fargo Police said they were responding to a “critical incident” and no further details were being released. There is no further danger to the community, they added.

Eyewitnesses say a gunman opened fire on officers shortly after 3 p.m.

The shooting prompted dozens of emergency crews to respond to the area near Big Top Bingo.

A bystander’s cellphone video, shared with The Forum, captured the immediate aftermath of the shooting. The video shows medics working on three people.

As of Friday evening, investigators had shifted their focus away from the shooting scene to a residential neighborhood about two miles south.

There was a large police presence in the 2800 block of 23rd Avenue South as investigators gathered evidence and intelligence related to the incident, Fargo police said via social media.

“Residents in the immediate area have already been notified and asked to evacuate,” said police, who did not explain why investigators zeroed in on that block.

‘I heard a pop pop pop out of a gun’

Bruce Jenner, an eyewitness to the shooting, told The Forum he was northbound on 25th Street when he saw a crash near the intersection with Ninth Avenue.

“I heard a pop pop pop out of a gun. A guy got out of a car and shot three cops out,” said Jenner, who lives in a nearby apartment.

He said he saw at least one officer fall to the pavement and that the man who fired the gun was then shot by police. “I was kind of stunned seeing that happen,” Jenner said.

Police closed off 25th Street from Main Avenue to 13th Avenue South.

The intersection of 25th Street and Ninth Avenue South was littered with debris, presumably from the crash.

An officer’s duty belt could be seen strewn on the sidewalk. Discarded medical equipment was visible nearby, likely from treatment performed at the scene.

Abdraihman Abdullahi was eating a late lunch at Al Hamdi Restaurant, near 25th Street South and Seventh Avenue, when he heard gunshots.

“Two cars collided and police came and then pow, pow,” he said. “I was super frightened. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard gunshots. I came from Somalia, but it sure did look like Minneapolis. I’ve never seen this kind of thing in Fargo.”

Fatah Mohamed works at Al Hamdi Restaurant and came out after the shots were fired, he said.

“They pulled up real quick and tried to help their fellow officer,” Mohamed said, adding that he saw one officer loaded into an ambulance.

‘I pulled out my phone and started filming’

Andrew Buck was biking home from his job at Fargo South High School when he thought he heard firecrackers or gunshots as he cycled down 13th Avenue South. Because he was curious, he rode up to Ninth Avenue South on 25th Street.

“When I got up to 25th, I saw all the cops’ cars, so I pulled out my phone and started filming,” said Buck, boyfriend of Forum reporter Melissa Van Der Stad.

There was a lot of gunfire, he said.

“There were bursts. You know, 8 to 10 shots and then a pause. And then another 8 to 10 shots. I’m guessing 50 to 60 shots maybe in total. I heard lots of shooting,” Buck said.

By the time he reached the scene, there was already a perimeter set up, he said.

He estimates there were about 15 to 20 squad cars and roughly 30 police officers present. Buck also saw medics and a firetruck.

It looked like three people were on the ground injured, Buck said.

“There’s two over kind of together, and then there was one a little farther away. He was behind a police car at first and then they dragged him out from behind the police car and they rolled him over and they were doing CPR on him,” Buck said.

At least two of the three injured parties were taken away in ambulances, Buck said.

One of the injured individuals was in street clothes, and Buck heard people at the scene say the other two individuals were officers.

Buck saw three cars that were damaged.

“One looked like it had some damage on the front end and then the airbags were popped. And then behind that there was a police car at an angle in the street with a flat tire,” Buck said.

The third car was in the parking lot of a nearby business and it looked smashed up, too, he said.

Buck’s video captured the moments right after the shooting. It shows officers running toward at least three people laying on the ground on the west side of 25th Street South just north of Big Top Bingo.

Officers can be seen performing CPR on one person before medics arrive and take over.

Several police officers surround another person on the ground, remove something from them and drag them from the rear of a squad car to the front of it. No aid was being rendered to that person, and bystanders can be heard calling, “He’s moving. Get that guy medical attention.”

Over a minute later, a first responder begins CPR on the person.

Throughout the video, emergency vehicles continue to flood the scene and crime scene tape is put up as officers come out of their vehicles wielding large guns.

The first ambulance departs with sirens blaring about 5 minutes after the video begins.

A second person on a gurney is loaded into an ambulance and driven away less than two minutes later, at which point the person who was dragged can be seen being loaded onto another gurney and wheeled out of sight.

The third ambulance departs about 12 minutes into the video, and a fourth remains on scene throughout the recording.

Police cars are visible stretching down the road for several blocks. A gray SUV was the only non-emergency vehicle on the street, parked near a police vehicle with a flat tire.

People at the scene can be heard in the video saying they witnessed the shooting.

At 3:50 p.m., Fargo police put out a statement on social media asking people to avoid the area of 25th Street and 13th Avenue South.

At 4:25 p.m., Fargo police said in a Facebook post that “there is no known threat to the public at this time.”

At 6:40 p.m., Fargo police issued a statement about the large police presence in the 2800 block of 23rd Avenue South.

Leon Crooks, a resident of the Bluemont Village Apartments, said law enforcement officers went door to door at the complex, telling him and his neighbors to evacuate the building. “They didn’t tell me what it was about,” Crooks said.

Crooks said he managed to grab some essential items before he left and that he planned to spend the night on a neighbor’s couch.

Sanford Health issued a statement saying that any updates on the conditions of those involved in Friday’s incident will come from police.

Check back for updates as this story develops.

Forum staffers Paige Naughton and Kaity Young contributed to this report.

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