Law enforcement release new details about Fargo shooter

A review of his computer search history yielded results such as “kill fast,” “mass shooting events,” “incendiary devices,” and “area events.” The last search the day before the shooting was “thousands enjoy first day of downtown Fargo street fair.” 

Fargo
North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley called a press conference with federal law enforcement partners Friday to provide an update on the July 14 shooting of Fargo police officers. (City of Fargo/YouTube)

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley called a press conference with federal law enforcement partners Friday to provide an update on the July 14 shooting of Fargo police officers.

Wrigley began the press conference with a second-by-second account of the activity at the scene of the shooting.

“The thin blue line was severely, severely tested. Fargo Police Officer Zach Robinson was indeed the last man standing,” Wrigley said, stressing that it remains an active investigation.

37-year-old Mohamad Barakat, who was shot dead by Robinson, killed Officer Jake Wallin and seriously injured Officer Andrew Dotas and Officer Tyler Hawes. Karlee Koswick, a 25 year old who just recently moved to Fargo, was also injured in the shooting.

In addition to his “arsenal” of firearms, police discovered three containers of gasoline and two propane tanks filled with “explosive materials” in Barakat’s vehicle.

At Barakat’s residence, law enforcement discovered several additional firearms, several trail cameras, phones, a computer, and a “variety of grenade parts.”

Barakat did not have any known social media presence and had very little interaction with others.

A review of his computer search history yielded results such as “kill fast,” “mass shooting events,” “incendiary devices,” and “area events.” The last search the day before the shooting was “thousands enjoy first day of downtown Fargo street fair.”

“You might be surprised to know how many times you finish up and you’re still scratching your head,” Wrigley said regarding a possible motive. “He was driven by hate, driven by wanting to kill.”

“It’s understandable and completely justified to want to know why,” U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider added. “We have no reason to believe the public is in further danger. If there was clear evidence of motive, we would share it.”

Attorney General Wrigley confirmed that Barakat was a Syrian national who came to the United States in 2012 on an asylum request and became a citizen in 2019.

“At this point in the investigation, I find his Muslim faith no more notable than my Lutheran faith,” Wrigley added. Law enforcement released a low resolution photo of Barakat and said it is the best image they have at this point.

Barakat had prior interaction with law enforcement when there was a fire at his apartment. Wrigley said he was not on the terrorist watchlist, but there was a “guardian report” with his name on it. Schneider said such reports are a way for the public to alert law enforcement but declined to provide any additional details.

Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski said Dotas and Hawes still have a long road to recovery but were able to stand up out of their beds Thursday. It is clear Fargo “avoided a major catastrophe here in our city,” he said.

Officer Wallin’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday, July 22, at Pequot Lakes High School at 10:30 a.m. A public celebration of Wallin’s life will be held Wednesday, July 26, at 1 p.m. at Scheel’s Arena in Fargo.

 

Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.