Attorney General Drew Wrigley and Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski held a news conference Friday. They released body camera footage of one of the officers involved in the July 14 shootout that left one police officer and the gunman dead and two police officers and a civilian wounded. The video is from the viewpoint of Fargo Police Officer Zach Robinson, who dropped the shooter with his service pistol from about twenty yards.
My colleague Ward Clark has covered this incident in several stories: Mohamad Barakat: Serious Omissions by Legacy Media, The Barakat Case: Are There Larger Implications? The release of the bodycam video gives us a chance to take a fresh look at a month-old case that seems to be going nowhere.
At 2:43 p.m. on Friday, July 14, Fargo police officers responded to a reported auto crash with injuries on 25th Street near Ninth Avenue. Some 24 minutes after the officers arrived, an officer called the dispatcher, saying, “Shots fired, shots fired. Someone with an AK-47 is shooting at us. Shots fired. Shots fired. Three officers down. Three officers down.”
This is the scene. The large map is a screen capture from the attorney general’s press conference. I inserted a small map of the same area oriented in the same direction as the screen capture. As noted, the third car from the left in the parking lot is one of the cars in the accident. The fourth car is the shooter’s car. The car at the bottom center is the other car involved in the accident. That last car is the viewpoint of the body cam at the start of the video. The distance from that car to the shooter’s car, according to the Google Maps “find distance” function is about 66 feet.
This is the body cam video.
I’m sure the “: Defund the Police” morons will want to know why they didn’t shoot the killer in the leg and why he sponged up at least ten rounds of 9mm ammunition.
This is what we knew about the shooter.
He was a 37-year-old Syrian who immigrated to the United States in 2012 as a political refugee named Mohamed Barakat.
He became a citizen in 2019.
Other than one speeding ticket, he had no criminal record in the US.
In the week before his death, his cellphone recorded just five calls.
He had no apparent social media presence, and he did not associate with the Muslim community in Fargo (I have to admit, I didn’t know such a thing existed.)
The Attorney General said Barakat was in the FBI “Guardian” system. This is:
“a web-enabled counterterrorism incident management system that supports the FBI’s role in defending the United States and its interests abroad from the threat of terrorism by receiving, assessing, disseminating, and retaining threats, suspicious activities, and events.”
His browser history showed searches “for information on mass shooting events and how to shoot and injure people in specific ways.”
His car carried evidence that the attack on the police officers was coincidental and that he had a larger target.
In the car that Barakat drove to the ambush scene, investigators found three long rifles, 1,800 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, a homemade grenade, a can of gasoline, explosives and other firearms, Wrigley said.
The explosives in Barakat’s car were filled with large amounts of Tannerite, an explosive compound made from ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder. If Barakat had shot an explosive, it could have caused significant destruction, Wrigley said.
He had more arms and ammunition at home, and there was evidence that he was not on a suicide mission.
Barakat may have been hoping to survive the attack and return home, Wrigley said.
“I have one indication, to me, that indicates that he did, that he hoped to (survive) … in the means he would check to see if anyone had been to his apartment in his absence. He had a couple of different techniques in that regard, and they were employed in this instance,” Wrigley said, without elaborating.
I’m not a conspiracist, but this story has a lot that makes no sense.
The narrative has Barakat cruising around Fargo, with his car loaded with guns, ammo, and improvised explosives, on a mission that did not involve him dying, looking for someplace to cause a distraction. That distraction happened to be a minor auto accident.
Barakat was on some kind of an FBI counterterrorism watch list and was removed. What got him on the list, and what got him off?
His lack of communication, by phone or online, seems calculated, as does his estrangement from his religious community. In my opinion, someone who went out of their way to become a US citizen and yet had no ties to anyone is rather strange.
It would be interesting to know who determined him to be a political refugee and what evidence was used to make that call.
It would also be really interesting to know why a small city like Fargo seemed to put an immediate omerta on the shooting of three of its officers.
The Fargo Police Department warned the public on social media shortly after the shooting to stay clear of the area but called it a “critical incident,” not a shooting. Residents were told to either evacuate the area or stay sheltered in place.
Fargo police did not say the incident was a shooting until nearly eight hours after it happened. They said an officer and the suspect died in the shooting, while two officers and a citizen were injured.
A spokesperson held a press conference Friday night but did not release information that wasn’t published on social media, nor did they take questions.
Police have not released information about the crash. The North Dakota Highway Patrol confirmed it was investigating the crash to determine a timeline of events, Capt. Bryan Niewind said. Troopers are waiting for the BCI to interview those involved in the crash before the Highway Patrol questions them, he said.
A crash report was not available Monday.
The sketchy information and seeming lack of interest by state and federal authorities to fill in any of the blanks doesn’t give one a great sense of confidence about what is going on here.
Press Conference Video
This video is the press conference. It is cued up to where the body cam starts.