North Dakota shooter was a ‘known wolf’

New reporting in North Dakota media documents the past encounters between Mohamad Barakat and local law enforcement.

On Friday, July 14, Syrian refugee Barakat ambushed Fargo policemen, killing one, injuring two others, and injuring an innocent bystander at the site of a routine traffic accident. Barakat died at the scene in a shootout with a fourth Fargo officer.

As the investigation into the incident continues, more information has emerged about past encounters between Barakat and Fargo police.

The Fargo Forum and other outlets have reported on local police acting on a request from the FBI. An anonymous July 2021 tip called into the FBI’s “Guardian” hotline resulted in a visit to Barakat’s Fargo apartment. The Forum reports,

An anonymous tip that was received in July 2021 to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center expressed concern about Mohamad Barakat’s mental state, his access to a significant number of firearms and his use of threatening language, the FBI said in response to The Forum’s request for information about a Guardian Report mentioned by law enforcement officials.

As a result, local police were dispatched,

“During this visit, [Fargo] detectives observed Barakat had several firearms in the apartment; however, none of them were illegal. Barakat was not prohibited from acquiring or possessing guns. Detectives conducted an interview with Barakat regarding a tip that had been received, during which time he denied any ill-intentions,” the agency told The Forum.

Fast forward to September 2022 (less than a year ago) when firefighters were dispatched to Barakat’s apartment to put out a kitchen fire in the unit. What they found there prompted a call to the police. The Forum reports,

Fargo police talked to Mohamad Barakat about his arsenal of weapons and propane tanks in his apartment less than a year before he opened fire on police on 25th Street South in Fargo.

The propane tanks were found in the backseat of Barakat’s car on July 14, filled with homemade explosives. The previous September, firefighters found them inside the small apartment of a man who did not own a grill. The fire chief noted at the time,

As I looked across the unit, I noticed what appeared to be a significant amount of gun ammunition. Crews pointed me in the direction of the bedroom where I found a 20 lb. propane cylinder next to the bed.

The issue is not Barakat’s arsenal, or the modest amount of ammunition he kept on hand, all legally obtained. The issue was the purpose of the propane tanks.

There was also a propane tank in the kitchen, next to the stove. Also a funnel, blender and items for measuring purposes,” [Fire Chief] Ness wrote in the report.

That prompted firefighters to call for backup.


Police determined “everything was legal,” according to the fire department report. Fargo firefighters said they reached out to police based on “the high-capacity magazines, guns, and propane tanks with no means of using them, without a grill,” according to the fire department report.

The investigation into Barakat’s motive continues.