FBI describes investigation into Fargo courthouse suicide

"The investigation will entail trying to figure out how he got that weapon or object into the courtroom."

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — The FBI investigates a courtroom suicide after a man slit his throat inside the Fargo U.S. District Courthouse.

“An individual was in the courtroom and a guilty verdict had come back in one of the charges against him. The jury then left the courtroom and the individual pulled a sharp object and cut himself and died on the courtroom floor,” FBI Public Affairs Officer Kevin Smith said.

Fifty-five-year-old, Jeffrey Sahl Ferris of Belcourt, North Dakota was facing 11 charges against him. Including; reckless endangerment, terrorizing, use of a firearm and assault with a dangerous weapon.

North Dakota U.S. Marshal, Dallas Carlson talked to us shorty after the incident.

Carlson said after a jury returned a partial guilty verdict against Ferris, he produced an edge weapon and cut his throat.

Now federal officials are investigating how the weapon used made its way past security checkpoints.

“The investigation will entail trying to figure out how he got that weapon or object into the courtroom. The FBI does what we call a death investigation. We process the scene, try to identify what happened in there and put all those facts together,” Smith said.

Carlson says the weapon making its way past security will have to be evaluated.

“It doesn’t appear that there was anything that should have been done differently at the security checkpoints. All procedures were followed to my knowledge right now, but we will review that and make any necessary changes in conjunction with our headquarters,” said Carlson.

Smith adds officials will also hear from other people in the courtroom.

“There were more than a dozen people in the courtroom at the time. I’m not sure if we will talk to all of them, but we will interview eyewitnesses who saw what happened and put that case together. We’re not in any rush, we just want to make sure we document this in the best way we can to shed light on what happened in the courtroom,” said Smith.

Smith adds the FBI is still processing the crime scene, but did not give an exact estimate as to when the investigation will be complete.

Categories: Crime, North Dakota News