Home News Fargo Gunman Searched Mass Shootings Online

Fargo Gunman Searched Mass Shootings Online

Fargo Gunman Searched Mass Shootings Online

The gunman who the authorities say killed a Fargo, N.D., police officer and wounded two others on July 14 had searched online for mass shootings before the attack, officials announced on Friday.

Mohamad Barakat, 37, was shot dead by the police last week after he had opened fire on officers responding to an unrelated car crash in Fargo.

Investigators recovered Mr. Barakat’s computer and discovered several online queries made before the shooting, including “explosive ammo,” “kill fast,” “incendiary rounds,” “mass shooting events” and “area events where there are crowds,” according to Drew Wrigley, the state attorney general.

The internet activity, along with a vast arsenal of firearms discovered in the investigation, suggested that Mr. Barakat had planned to kill more people, though no motive was evident, officials said.

Mr. Barakat’s final search, Mr. Wrigley said at a Friday news conference, entered at 10:30 p.m. on July 13, read, “Thousands enjoy first day of downtown Fargo street fair.” A local news article by that title had been published on the same day.

The shooting occurred the next day.

The police and fire crews were responding to a two-vehicle collision in Fargo at around 3 p.m. on July 14. Mr. Barakat spent several minutes “casing out” the crash scene from his car before parking in a nearby parking lot, officials said. From his vehicle, Mr. Barakat fired a rapid burst at three police officers at the scene using a scoped .223-caliber rifle.

“None of the officers even had so much as an opportunity to turn, crouch, to grab for their service weapon — nothing,” Mr. Wrigley said. “It’s that rapid. They drop, drop, drop.”

Jake Wallin, 23, one of the officers hit in the attack, was killed, while two others were injured.

The civilians involved in the car accident “crouched for their lives,” while a fourth officer, Zach Robinson, called for backup and returned fire. Mr. Robinson’s fire struck Mr. Barakat and broke his rifle. Knocked down, Mr. Barakat tried to fire back with a 9-millimeter handgun before he was killed by Mr. Robinson, officials said.

Mr. Wrigley said he believed Mr. Barakat might have been on his way to kill more people in downtown Fargo. Inside the gunman’s car and on his body, investigators discovered more weapons: four semiautomatic handguns, three semiautomatic long rifles, three containers filled with gasoline and two containers filled with “explosive materials,” officials said.

The rifle used in the attack was equipped with a device known as a binary trigger, a legal modification that enables the firearm to fire two rounds with one pull of the trigger. At Mr. Barakat’s residence, the police found shotguns, handguns, rifles and a “variety of grenade parts,” Mr. Wrigley said.

The shooting sent shock waves through Fargo, a city of 131,000 on North Dakota’s border with Minnesota. The investigation into Mr. Barakat was continuing, officials said.

The two officers wounded in the shooting, Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes, were in “stable” condition on Friday, according to the Fargo police chief, Dave Zibolski.

A funeral for Mr. Wallin, who was sworn into the police department less than three months ago, is scheduled for Saturday.


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