Can we defend ourselves against a rifle with just our handgun?
It's a common refrain that long gun attacks need to be responded to with long guns. You are vastly out gunned when trying to respond with a handgun to a threat presented by someone with a rifle.
We are not going to argue against that long-held principal. In fact, we commonly support the notion that your handgun is used to fight your way to your long gun.
But...thats' not always possible. You most likely will have to respond to the lethal force threat with what you have at hand right now. We normally say the first rule in a gun fight is to have a gun. (Our good friend Chris Fry retorts that this first rule of a gunfight is "Don't get shot").
Before we look at the video, let's review some basic information that has been released:
Fargo Police Officers were responding to a routine traffic accident on 25th Street South during the afternoon of July 14 when 37-year-old Mohamed Barakat opened fire on officers and first responders with a rifle.
Police Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes were shot and critically injured.
Officer Jake Wallin ran toward Barakat’s vehicle, was able to unholster his weapon and fire one shot before he was fatally hit by Barakat.
Wallin’s training officer, Zach Robinson, engaged in gunfire with Barakat.
Officer Robinson radios for help, reporting officers down.
After the three officers were already down, bystander Karlee Koswick, who was involved in the initial collision on 25th Street South, was shot as she attempted to flee.
Apparently, when Barakat turned his attention to Koswick, Robinson had the chance to engage Barakat.
Robinson advances towards the subject and continues to try to neutralize the shooter.
Robinson is gaining the advantage on the subject who has been struck and goes to the ground next to his car.
Robinson reloads and is forced to continue to engage the subject with fire as Barakat continues to move and manipulate his rifle.
Robinson ends the situation by moving around the subject's car and firing several times at Barakat from a closer range.
Officer Robinson hit Barakat 21 times with 31 rounds of fire.
Officer Robinson commanded the subject to put down his weapon 16 times, but Barakat continued to attempt to manipulate the weapon forcing Robinson to continue to put hits on him.
It's reported in the media that authorities suspect that Barakat was wearing some sort of body armor. (This item should be easily confirmed in a final incident report). This final point makes sense when you see the video below because of how many shots the subject seems to be taking without dramatic effect.
Here is the body cam video from Officer Robinson:
A cache of weaponry and potentially dangerous materials was discovered within his vehicle. Law enforcement officials uncovered three long rifles, accompanied by four handguns, alongside an alarming stockpile of over 1,800 rifle-caliber bullets. The vehicle was also found to contain three canisters containing gasoline, as well as two propane tanks filled with Tannerite, an explosive substance commonly utilized for target practice.
According to official sources, Barakat had conducted online searches related to articles concerning mass casualty incidents and the highly attended Downtown Street Fair hinting at a possible intent to carry out an attack targeting the crowd at the event.
Law enforcement authorities have disclosed that they had previously engaged with Barakat on multiple occasions. Notably, police officers had visited Barakat's residence and conducted interviews with him on at least two separate occasions in recent years.
Barakat's background also adds an intriguing layer to the unfolding story. He arrived in the United States in 2012 as a Syrian refugee seeking asylum. Subsequently, he achieved U.S. citizenship status in 2019, further complicating the narrative.
The aftermath of the incident left several individuals injured, including officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes, as well as bystander Karlee Koswick. Thankfully, these individuals have been discharged from the hospital, although they continue to recuperate from their injuries. One of the officers, Robinson, underwent a mandatory psychological evaluation before returning to work at the office for a period of time. Following this assessment, Robinson expressed readiness to resume active duty and has since returned to the streets, partnering with another officer.