Fargo Police identify officers and suspect involved in Friday shooting

Published: Jul. 15, 2023 at 4:02 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fargo Police say Officer Jake Wallin was killed in the line of duty on Friday, July 14. The 23-year-old was sworn in to the Fargo Police Department less than 3 months ago. He is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. When sworn in, Chief Dave Zibolski says Wallin wanted nothing more than to serve in a position with purpose and meaning, and to truly make a difference in this community.

Wallin is a native of St. Michael, Minnesota, a graduate of Alexandria Technical and Community College and an attendee of the American Military University. He served in the Minnesota Army National Guard and had professional experience in the security sector. Jake was a graduate of Fargo Police Academy IV and became an FPD Officer on April 19, 2023. On that day, he was sworn into law enforcement by Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski and his badge was pinned onto him by his father, Jeff. Jake was in field training with the FPD at the time of his death.

“We lost a good member of our department and good member of our family,” said Police Chief Dave Zibolski.

Police are not able to provide many details related to the situation itself, but Police Chief Dave Zibolski thanked the partner agencies for helping Fargo Police on the scene and for supporting their department.

“The events of the last 24 hours have been among the most difficult in our department’s nearly 150-year history. This was a heinous and unthinkable act of aggression against our officers and the entire metro community. As we all try to comprehend what has transpired and mourn the impact on our team and the entire community, we are bracing for extremely difficult days ahead. We know that we are joined by our metro community in this process and that brings comfort to all of us. Our hearts are heavy, but I can assure you that we never take your support for granted; we can profoundly feel the fabric of this community in your actions, words of encouragement and acts of kindness. Together, we are and will remain the guardians of our Fargo community.”

Zibolski says Fargo Police officers were investigating routine traffic accident on 25th Street and 9th Avenue South when the suspect, 37-year-old Mohamad Barakat, started firing at officers. Three of the officers were shot, including Jake Wallin, Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes. Shots were also fired at firefighters responding to the crash and, fortunately, none of them were hit. Zibolski says a Fargo Fire truck was hit by gunfire during the shootout.

A 25-year-old woman from Fargo was also shot on Friday, July 14. She was transported from the scene to a local healthcare facility with serious injuries.

Fargo Police Officer Zachary Robinson, a seven-year FPD team member, shot and killed the suspect. Robinson was serving as Wallin’s Training Officer at the time. Robinson has been placed on paid administrative leave while the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NDBCI) conducts an investigation into the use of force. The Fargo Police Department’s standard operating procedure is to place officers involved in officer-involved shootings on administrative leave until the investigation into the use of force has been completed.

Fargo Police Officer Andrew Dotas is a six-year FPD team member. Dotas serves as an FPD Training Officer, a member of the Crowd Management Team, Red River Valley SWAT Negotiations Team and a department Motorcycle Officer. Dotas is also a member of the North Dakota Air National Guard. He is currently recovering at Sanford Health in Fargo.

Fargo Police Officer Tyler Hawes was Wallin’s classmate in FPD Academy IV, becoming an FPD Officer on April 19, 2023; he is currently completing FPD field training. Hawes attended the University of Minnesota-Morris and graduated with a degree in Psychology. Prior to joining FPD, he worked as a Corrections Officer. Hawes is currently recovering at Sanford Health in Fargo.

“This is a very traumatic event for everyone who was working; not only for the officers on the scene, but also for the officers who responded to it,“ Chief Zibolski said. “I’m very proud of them for their actions, calmness under fire, not only protecting each other, but for protecting our community.”

Zibolski says he met with Officers Dotas and Hawes Saturday at the hospital, and both are in good spirits but have significant recovery time ahead of them. The Chief also met with family members of the officers involved to answer questions and explain the process of the investigation.

“We’re here to support them at every step. The family is very important to us and we’re working to ease their pain in any way that we can,” Zibolski said.

The Police Chief asked for support for the injured officers, Jake Wallin’s family, and the entire police department family. He says Officers Dotas and Hawes will be eased back into their ‘very important positions.’

Officials also thanked first responders on scene, saying they jumped into action immediately to provide aid to the officers who were shot. Zibolski says their quick action likely had a huge impact on their likelihood of survival.

“Trying to make sense of something that we’re not able to make sense of at the moment, we prepare to lay to rest and honor Officer Wallin. Heal as a department and heal as a community,” Zibolski said.

A moment of silence was held at Saturday’s news conference and the department played a video to give the community an idea of what Officer Jake Wallin was like.

“Wallin meant a lot to the department. He had an excellent sense of humor, a funny guy, very smart and very impressive as he went through the academy,” Zibolski said. “He was doing really well through training as well. It’s just really sad that he’s no longer with us.”

Chief Zibolski says he is proud of his officers for serving and protecting the community, no matter what the risk.

Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement: “These officers dedicate their lives to protecting our fellow citizens and our communities, and we are heartbroken by this tragic loss,” Burgum said. “Kathryn and I extend our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased officer, the Fargo Police Department and the entire law enforcement community as they mourn the loss of a fellow officer who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. We also pray for the full recovery of the officers and civilian who were wounded in this horrible incident, which is a tragic reminder that our law enforcement officers risk their lives every day for our safety and deserve our unwavering gratitude and support.”

The U.S. and North Dakota flags will be flown at half-staff on the day of the deceased officer’s interment. An official flag directive will be issued when memorial services are announced.

The Minnesota National Guard says Army Sgt. Jake Wallin entered into service Dec. 14, 2017, as a cannon crewman. Minnesota National Guard’s State Public Affairs Officer Army Lt. Col. Kristen Augé says Wallin deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq from Nov. 1, 2020, to July 19, 2021, with C Battery, 1-194 Field Artillery Battalion. He was currently serving with the 151 Field Artillery Battalion.

“The citizen Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard extend our deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Sgt. Jake Wallin. His death is a loss to our military family as well. He lived a life of service- not only to his state and nation but his community. We are grateful for his commitment to others even in the face of danger” said Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard’s Adjutant General.

Officer Andrew Dotas, who was injured during the incident, and Zach Robinson, who was involved but uninjured, are both master sergeants with the North Dakota Air National Guard’s Fargo-based 119th Wing. Dotas is being treated for his injuries at Sanford Hospital in Fargo and is in critical, but stable condition.

“Yesterday’s tragic event is felt across the entire state,” said Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general. “On behalf of the North Dakota National Guard, Becky and I extend our deepest sympathy and hopes for recovery, peace and comfort to Master Sgt. Andrew Dotas and his family. We also commend Master Sgt. Zach Robinson for the actions he took during the incident. In both their military and civilian roles, Andrew and Zach dedicate their lives to their community, state and nation with incredible selflessness and courage.”

“The North Dakota National Guard stands behind our state’s law enforcement community. We share in the mourning of Officer Jake Wallin, a military veteran who served with the Minnesota Army National Guard, and we extend Officer Tyler Hawes and his family our sincere wishes for recovery. Our communities are hurting, and we hope for healing for all those impacted by this profound tragedy. These officers are all heroes.”