Videos show how the Fargo shooter targeted officers, North Dakota attorney general says

Aug 28, 2023, 11:43 AM | Updated: 1:36 pm

This photo provided by the North Dakota Attorney office shows police body-worn camera video footage...

This photo provided by the North Dakota Attorney office shows police body-worn camera video footage of a police encounter with Mohamad Barakat on July 14, 2023 in Fargo, N.D. Dramatic video footage of a shooting ambush last month in Fargo that left one police officer dead and two others and a bystander wounded was shown Thursday, Aug. 17, highlighting the surprise nature of the attack on police responding to a routine traffic crash. (North Dakota Attorney office via AP)

(North Dakota Attorney office via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More video recordings of an ambush of police officers in Fargo, North Dakota, show how the gunman cased the scene of a fender bender, waiting and watching for roughly four minutes as more officers arrived before opening fire.

The additional videos — from officers’ body cameras, a police dashboard camera and a nearby business — were showed to The Associated Press and other media by North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

“It’s fair to deduce from all of this that he is clearly targeting the police,” Wrigley told the AP.

“He seemed to be waiting, and by waiting, doubled the number of police officers that were there,” but that “doesn’t speak to motive of why he did it,” the attorney general said.

As the investigation wraps up, the FBI is helping to interview people who exchanged “unremarkable” amounts of money with gunman Mohamad Barakat before the July 14 shooting, Wrigley said.

The attorney general has said Barakat appeared to be an example of the “lone wolves” concept, and there’s no indication anyone helped him.

Barakat lived alone in an apartment, working odd jobs for money. He had no criminal record or social media presence, authorities said, and had so little contact with others that the only photo investigators have provided is a blurry image taken from a video.

Authorities have said Barakat loaded his car with guns, ammunition and explosives and was likely planning a larger attack in the Fargo area. Then he happened upon the fender bender, and may have ambushed the officers to create a diversion.

Barakat shot and killed Jake Wallin, who managed to fire one round before he died, and wounded Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes along with Karlee Koswick, a woman who had rear-ended another vehicle in the crash. All three have since left the hospital.

In the videos, Barakat can be seen driving around the area and parking twice in an adjacent parking lot as people came and went amid busy traffic and firefighters responded to the crash. The rear-ended vehicle parked just feet away from Barakat, carrying several other people who soon found themselves ducking for their lives.

Barakat appeared to wait until the three officers moved closer, into a grassy area between the parking lot and street, to interview crash witnesses. He opened fire from his vehicle, with no apparent warning, using a .223-caliber rifle that had had been modified with a binary trigger to unleash a torrent of bullets, some of which hit passing cars and nearby homes.

It’s just “the winds of fate” that more people weren’t wounded, Wrigley said.

A fourth officer, Zach Robinson, was in the street when the gunfire erupted and began firing back with a 9 mm handgun, ducking behind Koswick’s car and then rising up to shoot the clip of Barakat’s rifle, effectively disabling the weapon, from about 75 feet (23 meters) away. Calling for backup, he says “Send everybody,” and then runs toward danger as Barakat moves between the parked cars.

The video then shows the wounded Barakat on the ground, still waving a handgun and ignoring Robinson’s commands to drop the weapon. Ultimately, Robinson fired five more shots. In the end, after nearly two minutes, 21 of the 31 shots Robinson fired had struck the gunman.

Police vehicles then rushed in from all directions, joined by several ambulances. The firefighters already at the scene for the crash ran to the officers’ sides; they had backed up their truck, its front tire punctured by gunfire, to block traffic as the bullets flew.

Hawes’ body camera was shot off his chest and landed on the sidewalk, where it captured audio of the gunfire and sirens. Another camera recorded Hawes crawling to Dotas’ side to comfort him after both were shot. Robinson helped a responding officer handcuff the dying gunman, then comfort Dotas as responders cut off his clothing to render aid.

Video recordings also show Koswick run and fall after being shot. She had been on the sidewalk, talking on her phone.

Wrigley had already presented a segment of Robinson’s body camera recording at a press conference this month, showing the moments leading up to Barakat’s abrupt attack and how Robinson confronted him, likely preventing much more bloodshed.

Investigators found numerous guns, 1,800 rounds of ammunition, a homemade grenade and explosives in Barakat’s vehicle.

Barakat, 37, was a Syrian national who had come to the U.S. on an asylum request in 2012 and became a U.S. citizen in 2019, Wrigley has said. Concerns about his guns prompted police to interview Barakat at his home at least twice in recent years, but he appeared to have acquired the weapons legally.

After the attack, investigators examining Barakat’s internet history found that over the past five years, he had searched for terms including “kill fast,” “explosive ammo,” “incendiary rounds,” “mass shooting events,” and one for “area events where there are crowds.” That brought up a news article with the headline, ”Thousands enjoy first day of Downtown Fargo Street Fair,” a day before the shooting.

Robinson is now back on the job, his actions commended by both Wrigley and Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski.

National News

This photo provided by the Morgan & Morgan law firm shows a charred Hawaiian Electric utility pole ...

Associated Press

How did the Maui fire spread so quickly? Overgrown gully, stubborn embers may be key to probe

Melted remains of an old car tire. Heavily burned trees. A charred stump of an abandoned utility pole. Investigators are examining these and other pieces of evidence as they seek to solve the mystery of last month’s deadly Maui wildfire: How did a small, wind-whipped fire sparked by downed power lines and declared extinguished flare […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Damarra Atkins pays respect to George Floyd at a mural at George Floyd Square, Friday, April...

Associated Press

Black Americans express concerns about racist depictions in news media, lack of coverage efforts

NEW YORK (AP) — In a new study, Black Americans expressed broad concerns about how they are depicted in the news media, with majorities saying they see racist or negative depictions and a lack of effort to cover broad segments of their community. Four in five Black adults say they see racist or racially insensitive […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in March 2021,...

Associated Press

Expert ruling that Colorado supermarket shooting suspect is competent for trial set to be debated

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A hearing begins Wednesday to determine if the man accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in 2021 is mentally competent to stand trial. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 24, was found mentally competent by experts at the state mental hospital in August, but his defense attorney Kathryn Herold asked […]

2 hours ago

FILE-Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks with Strider Technologies, an AI-powered strategic intelligen...

Associated Press

Race to replace Mitt Romney heats up as Republican Utah House speaker readies to enter

Republican Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson is poised to formally announce at a Wednesday night rally that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mitt Romney, who recently announced he won’t run for reelection. Romney announced earlier this month that he won’t seek a second term, saying younger people needed to […]

2 hours ago

FILE - A map of a GOP proposal to redraw Alabama's congressional districts is displayed at the Alab...

Associated Press

In a win for Black voters in redistricting case, Alabama to get new congressional lines

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is headed to the first significant revamp of its congressional map in three decades after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state’s bid to keep using a plan with a single majority-Black district. The decision on Tuesday sets the stage for a new map with greater representation for Black voters […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023...

Associated Press

Trump heads to Michigan to compete with Biden for union votes while his GOP challengers debate

As his Republican rivals gather onstage in California for their second primary debate, former President Donald Trump will be in battleground Michigan Wednesday night working to win over blue-collar voters in the midst of an autoworkers’ strike. Trump’s trip comes a day after President Joe Biden became the first sitting president in U.S. history to […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Videos show how the Fargo shooter targeted officers, North Dakota attorney general says