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On March 12, 2018, at approximately 8:26 p.m., patrol officers with the West Fargo Police Department (WFPD) attempted to conduct a traffic stop for a suspect in the possession of stolen handguns. The driver of the vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit ensued in West Fargo. At approximately 8:29 p.m., the suspect vehicle rammed a WFPD K9 Unit placing the squad car out of service. The suspect eventually stopped in a driveway in the 1000 block of 11th Street W., West Fargo. The suspect vehicle was surrounded by WFPD and commands were given to the suspect, which he failed to comply with.
WFPD established a perimeter and continued communications with the suspect attempting to get him to surrender for over one hour. The suspect continued to not follow officers’ commands. The Red River Valley SWAT and Negotiations teams were called for assistance. At approximately 10:00 p.m., SWAT assumed command of the scene and Negotiations attempted to communicate with the suspect. During the attempted negotiations, at approximately 10:37 p.m. the suspect exited his vehicle, refused to follow commands, and posed an imminent deadly threat to the SWAT operators. Four SWAT operators fired at the suspect. The suspect was taken into custody, given medical treatment on-scene, and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The deceased suspect has been identified as Justin Lee Dietrich, a 32 year old male.
Two of the SWAT operators who fired at the suspect are identified as Fargo Police Sergeant Shane Aberle and Fargo Police Sergeant Troy Hannig.
Sergeant Shane Aberle has been with the Fargo Police Department for 15 years, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in December 2013.
Sergeant Troy Hannig has been with the Fargo Police Department for 10 years, and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in January 2017.
In accordance with policy and procedures, the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
The incident is still under investigation by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. No further information will be released at this time.