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Investigators: Piecing together deadly standoff will take time

FARGO -- The law enforcement community in Fargo-Moorhead mourned a fallen friend and comrade Thursday as investigators began the job of piecing together events that took the life of a Fargo police officer and that of the man suspected of killing him.

"It's an ugly day. The community lost a guardian and a warrior and heaven gained an angel," said Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, referring to Jason Moszer, a Fargo police officer who died Thursday afternoon from a gunshot wound he suffered Wednesday night after he and other officers responded to a domestic disturbance at 308 9th Ave. N.

The house belonged to Marcus Schumacher, 49, whom authorities identified as the person responsible for the night-long standoff during which Moszer was wounded and Schumacher was killed.

Fargo Police Chief David Todd said he believes Schumacher intentionally targeted Moszer and other law enforcement officers during the ordeal, which began about 7 p.m. Wednesday and concluded about 6 a.m. Thursday.

It was a night punctuated by sporadic gunfire as authorities attempted to dislodge Schumacher from his home.

Robots, smoke bombs and an armored vehicle all came into play.

When it was over, police shared little about how the incident was resolved, or how Schumacher died.

For most in the public safety community, the focus Thursday was on Moszer, 33, a six-year veteran with the Police Department who died about 12:45 p.m. Thursday, according to Fargo police.

"Right now my job as the chief is to take care of our officer's family and to take care of my officers," Todd said.

"It's like, losing a brother. That's how it feels," he added, describing Moszer as someone who loved his fellow officers and who in turn was loved by them.

"He was just an all-around great guy. It's a terrible loss," Todd said.

What set the tragedy in motion remains unknown.

A message Schumacher apparently posted on his Facebook page shortly after the incident started provides no answers.

Posted at about 7:43 p.m., It read:

"Well it finally happened. Mom I should have listened to you. You were right. I love my facebook family. Loved knowing my extended family. Love everyone."

Based on police radio transmissions, it's possible Moszer was shot about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, when radio traffic hinted authorities were having trouble contacting an officer.

Also at about that time, radio transmissions indicate Schumacher may have communicated to authorities that he could see a man lying in an alley near his home and would not do anything if someone went to check on him.

Fears may have been confirmed for police when residents in the area began calling.

One radio transmission went like this: "We're getting calls from a couple of callers in the area that say the can see this person lying down in the alley."

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is the lead agency looking into all matters connected with the standoff.

Mark Sayler, chief agent with the bureau, said it could be a month before the agency has anything to report.

For much of Thursday, the neighborhood around the Schumacher home was closed to car and foot traffic, though all restrictions were lifted by 3 p.m.

The last shooting death of a Fargo officer was in 1882 and in modern times officer-related shootings have been rare.

But Wednesday's standoff marked the third officer-related shooting in Fargo since early 2015.

In June, a man was shot and wounded by a Fargo police officer after he fired a gun at officers during a robbery at the Howard Johnson Inn.

In September, a police officer shot and wounded a man who pointed a BB gun at the officer following a car chase involving a stolen vehicle.

In both cases, investigations found the shootings to be justified.

Josh Francis contributed to this report.

Dave Olson
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