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Fargo Police officer recounts his story from July 14 shooting

Fargo Police Officer Zach Robinson
Fargo Police Department
Fargo Police Officer Zach Robinson

Officer Zach Robinson stopped Mohammed Barakat from perpetrating even more violence.

An hour-long interview of Fargo Police Officer Zach Robinson was released to media outlets this week, with the officer discussing the July 14 shooting that injured two fellow officers, and killed another.

Robinson says he and Officer Jake Wallin responded as backup to two other officers, Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes, who were working a minor fender bender on 25th street in Fargo. 37-year-old Mohammed Barakat then opened fire on the officers, critically injuring Dotas and Hawes, and killing Wallin. Robinson was able to take cover behind a vehicle that had been involved in the accident, and draw his pistol while he determined where the shots were coming from. He says he relied on his training, and focused on neutralizing the threat.

"I knew those guys needed medical attention, now. And I knew I had every officer responding that was available. I knew I needed to get that guy down and detained, just to get those guys help because I knew it was a rifle. Didn't know what kind, make, model, anything like that. But they were down and they weren't moving, so I had to get him detained before I could worry about anything else because if he's not detained, then all of us are still at risk of being hurt."

Shots from Barakat’s rifle also struck Karlie Koswick, a passerby who had just recently moved to Fargo from Boston. She survived.

Robinson says he is lucky he wasn’t standing with the other three officers when Barakat began shooting. He says memories of the shooting haunt him daily, but he is doing well after returning to work following a leave to spend time with his family.

Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski and Attorney General Drew Wrigley both call Robinson’s actions heroic, and likely saved the community from an even greater catastrophe. Barakat’s car was loaded with weapons and ammunition, and just blocks away in downtown Fargo hundreds of people were strolling through the annual Street Fair.