Attorney General Drew Wrigley provides updates on investigation into Mohamad Barakat

Courtesy of: North Dakota Office of the Governor
Courtesy of: North Dakota Office of the Governor

(FARGO, ND) – The tragic shooting of Fargo Police Officer Jake Wallin, on July 14, has taken a toll on those within the law enforcement community, along with friends and family of Wallin, and the Fargo community in which Wallin had just begun working for less than three months ago. Family, friends, military colleagues and the Fargo Police Department laid Wallin to rest on Saturday in Pequot Lakes, Minn.

While authorities continue their investigation, Attorney General Drew Wrigley says everyone has been impacted, including the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). Wrigley says this includes the individual officers of the BCI assigned to the Fargo case.

“Everyone's holding up,” Wrigley told The Flag’s Scott Hennen on Monday’s What’s On Your Mind program. “I think any of our BCI agents that you talk to, and other BCI personnel, working on this matter hand-in-glove with so many others, would tell you that it is horrific to have to do so.”

Even though the officers say the job is horrific, Wrigley said his officers “feel privileged to be working on it (the case).”

North Dakota BCI agents are currently working all angles of the case. Their main objective is to figure out what took place on that Friday afternoon – and what the implications are going forward, Wrigley said. They’re also working to identify if any others that were involved with the shooting in downtown Fargo.

“Those are some of the issues we’ve addressed as best we can,” Wrigley said.

Wrigley said Monday that officers, late Friday afternoon, learned that Wallin wasn’t the first officer hit by gunfire.

“He, for just the slightest moment, gets to make a quick, evasive movement,” he said. “He reaches for, and is able to unholster, his police service weapon. He’s coming down with it, to fire a round at the defendant.”

Wrigley said his agents told him that he is “a nanosecond” from getting the round off from his service weapon at “very close range on Barakat.”

Wrigley acknowledged the conduct of the officers, and their families, involved in the shooting.

“All those officers conducted themselves professionally, bravely, and, in the wake of the aftermath of this, they and their families continue to do,” he said.

At last week’s press conference, Wrigley talked briefly about forensics being done on writings and language. He said those forensics are still being done, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He says the information contained in the writings is in the hands of federal law enforcement.

“They had some linguists that were going to look at it,” he said. “And I confirmed what I assumed to be the case. Thus far, no additional cause for alarm.”

The writings were found at Barakat’s apartment following the July 14 shooting, and Wrigley said he received the initial report from the FBI “late last week.” The writings were in Arabic, the official language of Syria, the country in which Barakat came from when he sought Asylum to the United States in 2012.

Though he doesn’t know what the transcription is of the writings by Barakat, Wrigley anticipates he will see the transcription “at some point in the investigation.”

Original Air Date: 
Monday, July 24, 2023