FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s largest city has been shaken by the fatal shooting of a decorated police officer, the first death of a Fargo officer in the line of duty in more than 130 years.
Officer Jason Moszer, 33, died Thursday of a gunshot wound suffered while responding to a domestic disturbance hours earlier. The six-year veteran of the force was hit by gunfire just after midnight, during an 11-hour standoff with a suspect at a house near downtown Fargo.
Police warned that the father of two wasn’t expected to survive. His family visited him in a hospital early Thursday to say goodbye, Fargo Police Chief David Todd said.
Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said in a statement the city was “profoundly saddened” by the death of Moszer, who won a Silver Star commendation after he and another officer were credited with risking their lives in 2011 to rescue two children from an apartment fire.
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“A tragedy affecting our men and women in uniform impacts our entire community,” Mahoney said in a statement.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple extended prayers to Moszer’s family, the police department and the community of Fargo.
“We are grateful for his service and for the service of all of our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dalrymple said in a statement.
Late Thursday, about 200 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Moszer’s honor, KFGO-AM reported.
Moorhead Police Officer Nicole Reno said Moszer “made jokes when he needed to get through the day and was just really a great officer,” the station reported.
Moszer graduated from Fargo South High School in 2001 and from North Dakota State University in 2009.
The only other Fargo police officer killed in the line of duty was Frederick Alderman, who was shot to death July 5, 1882, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a national nonprofit group that keeps records of fallen officers.
Wednesday’s suspected shooter, Marcus Schumacher, 49, was found dead shortly before dawn Thursday. Police were not sure whether Schumacher died of a police bullet or shot himself.
The police chief said Schumacher had exchanged gunfire with a SWAT officer. Todd said Schumacher fired on a squad car at the scene and that he believed the man was targeting police.
Officers were initially sent to the scene after Schumacher’s son called dispatchers and said Schumacher had fired a gun at his mother, Schumacher’s wife. The caller and his mother escaped the home unharmed.
Police said they tried to communicate with Schumacher during the lengthy standoff, during which he fired round after round of gunfire, but that he didn’t respond. The SWAT team eventually entered the house and found his body.
Schumacher was convicted in 1989 of negligent homicide in the shooting death of 17-year-old Maynard Clauthier in Grand Forks, and was sentenced to five years. He was also convicted of disorderly conduct in January 2013. He received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and served a year of probation.
Associated Press Writer Blake Nicholson in Bismarck and News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York City contributed to this report.