Chief Zibolski: 'Law Enforcement did everything they could lawfully do; No way we could have predicted Barakat's actions'

FARGO (WDAY) - Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski says law enforcement did everything they could lawfully do when investigating Mohamad Barakat in two separate encounters before he shot and killed Fargo Police Officer Jake Wallin and injured two officers and a bystander on July 14, 2023 in Fargo.

Zibolski said Fargo Police investigated a tip that was referred to them by the FBI in 2021 where a caller indicated Barakat had access to a significant number of firearms and had used threatening language, "We did that investigation, we did everything that we could lawfully do. There's no lawful authority that we can take in those matters," Zibolski said.

In 2022, Fargo firefighters were called to Barakat’s apartment for a fire, but police were called after a ‘significant’ amount of gun ammunition was discovered in the apartment. A 20-pound propane cylinder was found next to a bed. Multiple ‘assault style’ rifles were located within view, along with a propane tank in the kitchen, located next to the stove. A funnel, blender and items for measuring purposes was also found, the Forum noted from the report.

"People have guns, they have propane tanks - there isn't anything that's illegal present in the house. If there's nothing illegal there's nothing we can do. We can't track people because they're odd," said Zibolski. "If we were to start tracking them we would be committing a crime. This is all interesting, but there's no way that anyone could have predicted this individual's actions based on any of that information."

Barakat had no criminal history in North Dakota or any other state, and his firearms were purchased legally according to North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley.