Neighbors Shocked By Deadly West Fargo Standoff

The names of the suspect and the officers involved have been released

WEST FARGO, N.D. — The suspect in last night’s deadly SWAT standoff in West Fargo has been identified as 32-year-old Justin Dietrich.

On Monday night around 8:30, West Fargo Police tried to conduct a traffic stop on Dietrich, who they say had stolen handguns. Dietrich fled, setting off a chase.

He rammed into a police car and stopped in a driveway in the 1000 block of 11th Street West where he refused to comply with commands.

“During those negotiations the suspect exited his vehicle and posed an imminent threat to those SWAT officers. At that point the officers engaged the suspect and shots were fired. The suspect was transported by ambulance to Sanford Hospital and pronounced dead at the hospital,” said Chief Heith Janke of the West Fargo Police Department.

One resident had his car damaged by Dietrich’s vehicle.

“The truck’s screaming by, took out the snow bank and the mailbox, saw it hit my wife’s car, and I know it hit my company truck, I come down here and realized she’s saying to me, ‘better not go outside, they got their guns drawn out there,'” said Barry Nitzkorski, a neighbor.

A CodeRED was issued earlier in the evening, telling people to shelter in their homes.

“I was painting in my kitchen when I hear the squealing of the tires, and my husband looked outside and there were cops ascending on every single direction. Our garage kind of blocks most of it, but the red lights were flashing in every single window that we have,” said Julie Fraser, another resident.

Neighbors found the incident to be a shock since they say the neighborhood is usually quiet.

“The fact that the cops came so very fast was actually very comforting. We moved to this street because it is so quiet and is a dead end. I hope this doesn’t put a bad stigma to our neighborhood because it is very quiet here and really, this could happen anywhere,” Fraser said.

The Fargo officers who fired at Dietrich are identified as Sergeants Shane Aberle and Troy Hannig. Officer Brandon Desautel of Moorhead and Deputy Kyle Diekmann of Clay County were also involved.

All four officers have been placed on standard paid administrative leave.

The shooting is under investigation by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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