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Fargo police officer justified in using deadly force against gunman, state attorney general says

Jul 19, 2023, 10:21 AM

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Fargo police officer was justified in using deadly force against the gunman who opened fire on other officers, killing one and injuring two, North Dakota’s attorney general said Wednesday.

Attorney General Drew Wrigley said at a news conference that Officer Zach Robinson’s use of deadly force against Mohamad Barakat last week “was reasonable, it was necessary, it was justified.”

Barakat, 37, fired on officers while they were responding to a traffic wreck Friday in south Fargo, authorities said. Officer Jake Wallin was killed, and Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes were hospitalized with critical injuries.

Robinson was placed on paid administrative leave while state authorities completed an investigation into his use of force, per Fargo police procedure.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s attorney general plans to hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss a Fargo police officer’s use of deadly force against a gunman who opened fire on other officers, killing one and injuring two.

Authorities say Officer Zach Robinson fatally shot Mohamad Barakat, 37, after the man fired on officers responding to a traffic crash Friday. Officer Jake Wallin was killed, and Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes were hospitalized with critical injuries. A woman was also shot, but authorities have not said who shot her.

Fargo’s police chief has said Barakat’s motive was unclear. The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and FBI are investigating.

A statement from Attorney General Drew Wrigley’s office said Wednesday’s news conference “will address the officer use of force issue only.” Another news conference is scheduled for Friday to address the investigation.

Wallin, 23, served in the Minnesota Army National Guard. He was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq from November 2020 to July 2021. Wallin and Hawes were sworn in less than three months ago and were still in training when they responded to the scene Friday.

Robinson was placed on paid administrative leave while state authorities complete an investigation into his use of force, per Fargo police procedure. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said he anticipates a report evaluating Robinson’s actions in the coming days.

Barakat “was not well known to the community,” the mayor said.

The governors of Minnesota and North Dakota have directed U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Wallin through sunset Saturday, and encouraged residents and businesses to do the same.

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Fargo police officer justified in using deadly force against gunman, state attorney general says