North Dakota officials release bodycam footage of deadly Fargo shooting

Barakat was a Syrian national who came to the U.S. on an asylum request in 2012.

North Dakota
North Dakota officials on Thursday presented footage of the chaotic encounter. (North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation)

(Law Officer) — Words cannot adequately describe video footage of a shooting ambush last month in Fargo that left one police officer dead and two others and a bystander wounded. North Dakota officials on Thursday presented footage of the chaotic encounter.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley and Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski presented the video along with a briefing of the horrific gun battle that began as officers were investigating a traffic collision, the Associated Press reported.

Officer Zach Robinson’s bodycam footage showed the gunman shooting rapid fire from a .223-caliber rifle that took three officers down before he was neutralized.

WARNING: The content of this video is graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.

The gunman was identified as 37-year-old Mohamad Barakat. He shot and killed Officer Jake Wallin of the Fargo Police Department and wounded Officer Andrew Dotas and Officer Tyler Hawes as they were investigating a traffic collision on July 14, authorities said.

The murderous gunman also wounded Karlee Koswick, a bystander who tried to flee as gunfire erupted. Heroically, Robinson shot and killed Barakat, preventing what officials said could have been a much bigger attack with summer festivals occurring in the area at the time.

In the aftermath of the deadly encounter, investigators discovered three loaded rifles, four loaded handguns, 1,800 rounds of ammunition, a homemade grenade and explosives in Barakat’s vehicle.

During five years prior to the lethal ambush, Barakat’s internet queries included “kill fast,” “explosive ammo,” “incendiary rounds,” “mass shooting events,” and one for “area events where there are crowds,” which brought up a news article with the headline, “Thousands enjoy first day of Downtown Fargo Street Fair,” one day prior to the shooting, reported the Associated Press.

Barakat was a Syrian national who came to the U.S. on an asylum request in 2012, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen in 2019, Wrigley confirmed.

On at least two prior occasions in recent years, law enforcement personnel visited Barakat’s home and spoke with him due to concerns related to his firearms, though officials said the weapons were legally purchased.

In the immediate aftermath of the homicide of Wallin, the attorney general described Barakat’s actions as a “savage attack,” and Robinson’s reaction to it as “courageous.”

“Mohamad Barakat engaged in a savage attack … he unleashed what can only be described fairly as a murderous barrage of fire,” Wrigley said in July. He further described Robinson’s conduct as “some of the most courageous” he’s ever witnessed, Law Officer reported.

Dotas and Hawes recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital earlier this month. Koswick left the hospital about a month ago.

“It’s clear to us that our officers were ambushed during this attack,” Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said in July. “Had Zach not neutralized this shooter, we would have had many more casualties. When you look at the amount of ammunition this shooter had in his car, he was planning on more mayhem in this community.”


Law Officer Staff