“Be worthy”

As the man says in the song (not that one), I was born in a small town — Fargo, North Dakota. You may have heard that Fargo police officer Jake Wallin was ambushed and murdered by one Mohamad Barakat in Fargo this past Friday as police responded to a call for help on a car accident. Officer Wallin was a native of St. Michael, Minnesota and a sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard. Officer Wallin speaks in the heartbreaking video below.

The Brainerd newspaper reports that Officer Wallin leaves behind parents Jeff and Amy Wallin, a brother, Brady, and his fiancee, Winter Malone, as well as many family members in the Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point area. They all need our thoughts and prayers.

Two other officers were shot and wounded — Officer Tyler Hawes, originally from Eagan, Minnesota, and Officer Andrew Dotas. The two wounded officers are hospitalized in critical but stable condition. They also need our thoughts and prayers.

Via Minneapolis’s KARE 11, I learn that the Fargo Police Department has announced the creation of the Leadership Care Fund, a registered nonprofit that will collect funds to support the families of Officers Wallin, Hawes, and Dotas. Donations to the fund will go directly to the officers’ families, not to the City of Fargo or the Fargo Police Department.

Fargo police officer Zach Robinson saved the day. From a spot some 75 feet away, he called for help and returned fire. One shot disabled Barakat’s rifle. When Barakat pulled a handgun, Robinson fired again to bring Barakat down.

Barakat was equipped for mass murder. Inside Barakat’s car officers found 1,800 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition, explosives, gas canisters, and a homemade grenade with a fuse out of the top. Below is the photo released by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation to the AP. See American Experiment Fellow David Zimmer’s “Last man standing.”

A federal law enforcement officer based in North Dakota has written us to express his gratitude for serving in a state where elected officials still recognize the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers. He refers specifically to North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, whom he contrasts with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison — the anti-cop attorney general. Enough said.

Our correspondent also directed us to a Facebook video of Wednesday’s joint news conference with Wrigley, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, and Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski. Near the end of the briefing, at about 42:00 of the video below, one of the reporters asked Wrigley what he wanted North Dakotans to know about Officer Robinson. Wrigley urges citizens to “be worthy” — worthy of what he did, worthy of the service of law enforcement officers, “worthy of what they’re willing to do…” When the bodycam video is released, he asked, “watch it and understand that there are people who will do these things [that] we won’t and that we rely on them to do. Don’t just go to their funerals.” This is worth a moment of your time.

Thanks to Attorney General Wrigley’s office and Fargo broadcast services manager Brian Sellin for responding to my request for the YouTube video. They do these things differently in North Dakota.

UPDATE: I originally omitted the citation of David Zimmer’s excellent American Experiment column from my comments above. I want to draw special attention to it. Please see “Last man standing.”

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