Death of officer, 2nd killed in line of duty, shakes Fargo

Fargo crime scene
Two Cass County sheriff's deputies secure an area in North Fargo, N.D., on Thursday, one block from a house where Marcus Schumacher is accused of shooting officer Jason Moszer Wednesday night. Moszer died Thursday.
Dave Kolpack | AP

Updated: 1:30 p.m. | Posted: 6:40 a.m.

The death of a Fargo police officer in the line of duty has shaken the city, North Dakota's largest.

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 with a wife and two children is just the second Fargo officer to die in the line of duty and the first in more than a century.

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Moszer was hit while standing outside a house near downtown around 7 p.m. Wednesday, and police had warned overnight he wasn't expected to survive.

Family members visited him in a hospital early Thursday to say goodbye, Fargo Police Chief David Todd said.

Jason Moszer
This undated photo released by the Fargo Police Department shows Fargo police officer Jason Moszer.
Fargo Police Department via AP

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.

"A tragedy affecting our men and women in uniform impacts our entire community," Mahoney 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 said they weren't sure whether Schumacher died of a police bullet or shot himself.

Flowers and notes at Fargo police station
By midday Thursday, a small pile of flowers and notes had appeared near the front door of the Fargo Police Department.
Dan Gunderson | MPR News

Schumacher was convicted in 1989 in the shooting death in Grand Forks a year earlier of 17-year-old Maynard Clauthier. Schumacher was initially convicted of manslaughter and reckless endangerment, but won a new trial and was eventually convicted instead of negligent homicide and sentenced to five years.

Separate court documents show Schumacher was convicted of disorderly conduct in January 2013. He received a 30-day suspended jail sentence and served a year of probation.

The police chief said Schumacher had exchanged gunfire with a SWAT officer. He said a squad car at the scene was fired on and he believed Schumacher was targeting police. A SWAT team in an armored vehicle retrieved Moszer and took him to a hospital.

Police said 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 through negotiators, but that he didn't respond and the SWAT team eventually entered the house and found the body.

On Friday, Fargo officials announced The Moszer Family Benefit Fund has been established.

Moszer's wife and two children will need financial assistance now and in the future, said Mayor Mahoney. "My expectation of the city of Fargo is we will be generous to this family," he said.

Contributions can be made at any Bell State Bank or online.

MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson contributed to this report.