Fundraisers, tributes for Fargo police grow quickly after deadly shooting

18 July 2023

FARGO Shortly after the July 14 shooting in south Fargo that left one police officer dead and two others seriously injured, condolences, words of encouragement and respect were quickly directed to the police force and community.

The outpouring of support is gaining momentum as a makeshift memorial at the shooting scene near 25th Street and Ninth Avenue South grows and fundraising efforts pop up across the area.

Mayor Tim Mahoney said he appreciates the support the local community quickly showed for those affected by the shooting, including the slain officer, Jake Wallin, who grew up in St. Michael, Minnesota.

“It’s really hard because Jake’s family isn’t in this community … so they don’t get to see this outpouring of love for him,” the mayor said Monday, July 17. “It’s kind of hard because they don’t get to see how much everybody loved him.”

Mahoney said the outpouring of love and support has touched the hearts of those in the Fargo Police Department.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, Fargo police officers were responding to a vehicle crash when 37-year-old Mohamad Barakat, of Fargo, opened fire on the officers. Barakat’s motive so far is unknown.

Officer Wallin, 23, was killed and Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes were critically injured. Dotas and Hawes remained hospitalized Monday in critical but stable condition, police said.

A 25-year-old bystander, Karlee Koswick of Fargo, was also shot in the hip and calf, according to her mother. Officer Zachary Robinson, a seven-year veteran of the force, shot and killed Barakat. He was training Wallin at the time of the shooting.

That evening, Shinedown, a hard rock band performing at the Red River Valley Fair grandstand took a moment of silence to honor law enforcement and the Fargo community.

On Sunday, country crooner Tyler Hubbard also took the time to explain he, too, had heard of Friday’s shooting and he wanted to show his support for the Fargo police as well as the community with a moment of silence followed by a song he has not yet released as a single but pays tribute to all “unsung heroes.”

The Red River Valley Fair announced Sunday it would donate the day’s gate admission profits to the families of the Fargo police officers and others who were impacted by Friday’s shooting.

Once investigators cleared the shooting scene early Saturday, the public began to leave gifts and U.S. flags along 25th Street to show their support. The makeshift memorial has now grown to cover a large swath of the boulevard grass.

Superior Customs, a West Fargo business, is making thin blue line decals to show support for the Fargo Police Department. They can be purchased online for $5 with all proceeds going to the police department.

The 6-inch by 6-inch decals show the Fargo police badge with a blue line across it. Mike Spieker, owner of Superior Customs, which makes custom wraps for race cars, designed the decals. Spieker is also the man behind Speedway Shots, a professional photographer for the Red River Valley Speedway. He reported selling 175 decals in about 24 hours.

The Fargo Police Department has partnered with the Leadership Care Fund, a nonprofit group that is collecting donations to support the families of Wallin, Dotas and Hawes. The department said the Leadership Care Fund will not collect any fees, unlike popular crowd-sourcing sites such as GoFundMe.

“Donations can be made at any Bell Bank location or online at This site does not collect any fees, ensuring all funds will go directly to the Wallin, Dotas and Hawes families,” according to a statement from the Fargo Police Department.

As of Monday evening, GoFundMe sites had been created for Dotas and Hawes. Dotas’ site had raised more than $53,000, and Hawes’ site, created more recently, had raised $6,700.

Starting at noon Tuesday, July 18, the radio station Big 98.7 will be at Cash Wise on 13th Avenue South in Fargo to distribute blue lightbulbs to anyone who would like to show their support for law enforcement by using the bulbs on their porch or outside their house. The bulbs will be free, but any donations will go to the Leadership Care Fund.

After Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer was fatally shot responding to a domestic disturbance in 2016, police encouraged the public to change their porch lightbulbs to blue. Many hardware and home goods stores now have blue bulbs regularly in stock.

Other businesses are paying their respects to the Fargo police in their own way across the metro area. Texas Roadhouse in Fargo has reserved a table in Wallin’s honor. Inside the restaurant is a booth saved for the fallen officer that displays a photo of him.

Forum reporter Melissa Van Der Stad contributed to this report.

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