Fargo police name officers, suspect involved in deadly shootout

16 July 2023

FARGO The Fargo Police Department announced Saturday, July 15, the names of the suspected shooter and officers involved in a Friday shooting that left one officer and the suspect dead. Two officers and one bystander were injured.

Friday was “one of the most horrific days in our department’s history,” Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski said in a Saturday press conference. “For no known reason at all, a violent gunman attacked our officers.”

Jake Wallin, 23, was fatally shot just after 3 p.m. Friday on 25th Street South while responding to a crash, Zibolski said. At this point, he does not believe the suspected shooter was part of the collision.

Wallin was sworn into the department less than 3 months ago, Zibolski said, adding that the department is “walking with very heavy hearts.”

“He was a member of our family, and he was taken from us far to soon,” Zibloski said.

Wallin was described as a smart and accomplished officer who had an excellent sense of humor.

A native of St. Michael, Minnesota, he graduated from Alexandria Technical and Community College and attended the American Military University. He served in the Minnesota Army National Guard, according to the police and was deployed numerous times.

“He meant a lot to the department,” Zibolski said.

A memorial for Wallin is in place near the scene of the incident, where several people left flowers in his honor on Saturday.

City Hall was slated to be lit up in blue for the second night in a row Saturday in memory of Wallin, according to the city’s Facebook page.

Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes were injured in the shooting, he said. The two are stable but remain in critical condition and have “significant recovery time” ahead of them, according to Zibolski.

Zibolski named the suspect, who was shot during the incident and later died at a hospital, as 37-year-old Mohamad Barakat, of Fargo.

“We don’t have any additional background on him,” Zibolski said.

Barakat was shot by officer Zach Robinson, Zibolski said, “preventing further harm to others.”

The shooter also fired at firefighters who were responding to the crash, he said, noting none of them were injured. The firefighters began rendering aid to the injured people at the scene immediately after shooting ceased, he said, which likely played a role in the survival of Dotas and Hawes.

The chief said he visited both injured officers Saturday and that they were “both in good spirits.”

Shot while completing field training

Hawes was Wallin’s classmate at Alexandria Technical and Community College, the release said, and they were sworn into the Fargo Police Department on the same day.

Both new officers were in the midst of completing their field training when they were shot, according to the release. Officers Dotas and Robinson were training them.

Robinson stopped the attack by shooting and killing the suspected shooter, the release said. He was serving as Wallin’s training officer at the time of the incident and, per standard operating procedure, was placed on paid administrative leave while the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigates the use of force.

Robinson has been with the department for 7 years.

Dotas is a training officer who has been with the department for 6 years, a release from the Fargo Police Department said.

A 25-year-old Fargo woman was also shot during the incident, the release said. She was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

‘Heinous and unthinkable act of aggression against our officers’

The FBI and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation are actively working on the investigation, Zibolski said. He emphasized there is “no known reason” for the shooting, but the investigators are working to answer why the shooting occurred.

“This was a heinous and unthinkable act of aggression against our officers and against our community,” Zibolski said.

“So, as we try and make sense of something that we’re not able to make sense of at the moment, we’ve got some pretty trying days ahead as we plan to honor and lay to rest Officer Jake Wallin,” Zibloski said, “and also physically and mentally heal our department family.”

They are providing support to the entire department, as well as the families of those involved to “try and ease their pain and assist them in any way that we can,” Zibolski said.

“This is an unconscionable act; it’s hard to fathom,” he said. “It’s unbelievable that something like this would happen in our community.”

Over 50 members of city staff, the media, elected officials, uniformed personnel and others gathered in near total silence for the 20 or so minutes leading up to the press conference.

Toward the end of the briefing, Zibolski held a moment of silence for Wallin that left some in tears.

“This hurts,” Mayor Tim Mahoney said. “This is hard to take, and we never wanted to see it in our community. Now we’ve seen it, an active shooter that was fatal to one of our police officers … we will stand and get through this. Our community is a community that stands up for each other and works with each other, and we will continue to do that.”

’50 to 60 shots’

The shooting happened on 25th Street South near the intersection with Ninth Avenue, close to Big Top Bingo, where witnesses reported seeing a crash before a man shot the three police officers.

The shooting prompted dozens of emergency crews to respond to the area.

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

Andrew Buck, who was biking home from work along 13th Avenue South, thought he heard firecrackers or gunshots and rode toward the noise.

“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.

Friday evening, investigators 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.

Jason Moszer, the last Fargo police officer killed in the line of duty, died Feb. 11, 2016.

Check back for updates as this story develops.


Need help?

If you need support, please send an email to [email protected]

Thank you.