Mohamad Barakat: Serious Omissions by Legacy Media

The Fargo shooter's arsenal. (Credit: CBS News/WCCO)

Last week, following a traffic stop in normally peaceful Fargo, ND, a gunman opened fire on police officers, killing one officer and wounding two others, along with a bystander. What the media coverage isn’t telling you is anything about the background of the shooter, one Mohamad Barakat.

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According to this morning’s (July 21) update from Attorney General Drew Wrigley, Barakat had been researching mass attacks online and had notes from an attempted Times Square bombing attack.

Barakat had been studying mass casualty events for several years, and most recently was researching local events happening in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo and surrounding areas.

And:

Forensics experts with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation say Mohamed Barakat has no social media presence and appears to have had very little interaction with people. Wrigley and the U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota both said, they have no evidence at this time that indicates a further threat to the community.

Investigators say Barakat had been reading about other mass shooting events around the country, and researching local events in the Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding areas. His online searches about mass violence go back as far as 2018. The final online search Barakat made on Thursday, July 13, was about thousands of people attending the Downtown Fargo Street Fair.

Wrigley said with the evidence they have so far, they believe Barakat may have been planning to bring his guns, ammunition, and explosives to execute a mass casualty event at the Downtown Fargo Street Fair or the Red River Valley Fair. As he was heading north on 25th Street, he could have turned right to go downtown or left to go to West Fargo.

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One of his research subjects was a failed car-bombing attempt in Times Square in 2010. The placement of the fuel cans in Barakat’s car presents an uncanny resemblance to the car bomb in that failed attempt (click to expand thread):

This is all the information released today about Mohammad Barakat himself:

July 21 is the first time officials have released a photo of Mohamed Barakat. Officials say he is a Syrian national who came to the United States in 2012. Barakat became a U.S. citizen in 2019. Investigators say it appears Barakat was working off and on at different jobs, and over the years he has been researching mass casualty events and collecting weaponry. His name appeared on what officials call a “Guardian Report,” but they clarified the tip received was not about a threat of violence.

Wrigley says Mohamed Barakat was not on the terrorist watch list and all of the firearms appear to have been purchased legally. Investigators say he appears to have no ties to the local Muslim community. He has family living in the United States, but not in the local area. Wrigley says Barakat’s family has been spoken to, but they do not appear to have had a lot of communication with Barakat.

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The investigation is still ongoing, and no information has been released on any ties Barakat may have had with any person or persons in Syria, where he lived until eleven years ago.

Several local media outlets covered the story at the time; here are some examples.

 

 

 

ABC News also covered the story under the tag “Guns in America.”

The gunman who ambushed three Fargo, North Dakota, police officers in an unprovoked attack Friday had an arsenal that included 1,800 rounds of ammunition and a homemade hand grenade, the state attorney general said Wednesday.

Mohamad Barakat, 37, “absolutely ambushed” the officers, firing a .223-caliber rifle from inside his vehicle Friday as police were responding to a car accident, Attorney General Drew Wrigley said.

One officer, Jake Wallin, 23, was killed and two others were shot and wounded. Barakat was shot and killed by Police Officer Zach Robinson, officials said.

Barakat also shot a woman who was standing on the street after the unrelated car accident. She was struck twice as she ran from the gunfire, Wrigley said.

“In the wake of Mohamad Barakat’s murderous, unprovoked attack, Officer Zach Robinson’s use of deadly force was reasonable, it was necessary, it was justified, and in all ways it was lawful,” he said.

It’s impossible to disagree with Mr. Wrigley’s statement as it is; yes, the use of deadly force was not only reasonable but essential, and we should never downplay the courage and dedication of the officers who ran to the sound of the guns and doubtlessly prevented a far greater tragedy.

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This isn’t the first time an immigrant, for unknown reasons, has turned out to be violent. But it’s not at all clear – yet – what Mr. Barakat’s motivation was – at least not with the information we have on him at this point. The legacy media outlets, however, at the time of the event seemed decidedly incurious.

It is certain, as we see from the ABC coverage, that this will be spun as an argument for another ill-advised “Assault Weapon” ban based on Barakat’s possession of three semi-auto rifles; grenades are already illegal, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped Barakat from possessing one, presumably home-made.

In the car that Barakat drove to the ambush scene, investigators found three long rifles, 1,800 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, a homemade grenade, a can of gasoline, explosives and other firearms, Wrigley said.

A perpetrator from a war-torn country who has kept a low profile while in the United States and about whom we still know little or nothing.

The angle the legacy media takes on this will be to blame the sword for the hand that wields it. If one wanted to arrive at the root of this incident, one might look into screening practices for admitting refugees, although in this case it’s unclear as to whether this would have set off any alarms. Barakat’s time in the United States, where he went through the process to become a naturalized citizen, seems to have been spent as a low-profile, law-abiding person. And while his choice of weapons sets hits the “assault weapon” hot-button, the facts of the matter are that he could have used a wide variety of weapons to conduct a horrific attack; his possession of improvised explosives, for example.

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It’s too bad that some in the legacy media choose to wade into this to push an agenda. The only conclusion that should be drawn at this time is this: that this was an inexplicable act of violence perpetrated by a seeming loner for unknown and unfathomable reasons, and thanks to the swift and courageous actions by several Fargo lawmen, a far greater attack was averted. That’s the important takeaway, and it’s just too bad that some in the legacy media downplay that to push an agenda.

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