Authorities now say Barakat was interviewed twice about weapons
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — The man who killed a Fargo officer and wounded two others had another run-in with authorities during an apartment fire in September 2022.
Fire crews spotted numerous weapons and propane tanks.
He was interviewed by police even though Chief Zibolski says prior contact was “not anything significant”.
Mohamad Barakat admitted to owning ten guns, 6,000 rounds of ammunition and propane tanks in an interview following a kitchen fire at his apartment last year. It was the second time authorities interviewed Barakat about his guns. Last week, officials said the FBI received an anonymous tip in 2021 expressing concern over Barakat’s mental state and his access to weapons.
“I believe that we had had contact with him, but nothing significant,” said Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski.
Fargo Firefighters notified police after seeing all the weapons in Barakat’s apartment.
Battalion Chief Jason Ness noted “multiple ‘assault style’ rifles,” a 20-pound propane cylinder in a bedroom, a second smaller propane cylinder in the kitchen, and “a funnel, blender, and other items that looked to be for measuring purposes.”
Ness wrote that FPD determined everything was legal with the gun collection.
“To our knowledge, at this point, they were all legally purchased. He was not a prohibited person,” said North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley.
The FBI and FPD said that because there was no evidence of ongoing illegal activities or indications of an immediate threat, so no further action at the time was taken.
The 37-year-old Barakat shot and killed Officer Jake Wallin and wounded officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes as they responded to a routine traffic crash two weeks ago.
He also wounded 25-year-old Karlee Koswick as she tried to flee the area.
A fourth officer, Zach Robinson, shot and killed Barakat, preventing what authorities said could have been a much bigger attack with summer festivities occurring in the area at the time.
Some that saw Barakat around his apartment complex say he was friendly with them.
A maintenance worker says two days before the shooting, Barakat completely ignored the man when he said hello.
Barakat apologized to him the next day, saying he was “going through some stuff.”
The man says he and residents in the building are still disturbed and are processing the whole situation.
In a statement, Fargo Police say officers observed Barakat had several firearms in his apartment, but he was not prohibited from acquiring or possessing guns and that the investigation into Barakat continues.