- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The death of a Fargo police officer who was gunned down while responding to a domestic disturbance left grief in its wake and many questions that could several weeks to answer, North Dakota’s top law enforcement official said Friday.

Officer Jason Moszer, 33, died Thursday of a single gunshot wound during an 11-hour standoff with a suspect at a house near downtown Fargo. The six-year veteran of the department is the first Fargo police officer to die in the line of duty in more than 130 years.

The suspect, Marcus Schumacher, was found dead in the house but police have not said whether he died of a police bullet or shot himself. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is leading the inquiry, declined to answer questions on Friday.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who oversees the BCI, said the manner of Schumacher’s death is one of the “key things” in the investigation. Stenehjem would not discuss any details of the case and said it’s likely that no further information will be released until the investigation is completed.

“We think it is much more important to be thorough and accurate than rushed,” he said.

Moszer was shot while he was “standing on perimeter,” police said. It is not known whether he was wearing protective gear.

The Red River Valley SWAT team removed Moszer from the scene under the cover of a BearCat armored truck. Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said the rescue vehicle prevented further catastrophe on a night when police said Schumacher fired numerous rounds from a long rifle.

“That BearCat, had it not been on scene that night, we would have had a lot more cops wounded or killed,” Laney said. “It was an absolute lifesaver. Without that equipment we would have been in very dire straits.”

Funeral arrangements for Moszer have not been announced. About 200 people attended a candlelight vigil Thursday night. The city and police department on Friday said they set up benefit fund for the officer’s family.

“I hope people will seriously consider digging into their pockets and making donations,” Stenehjem said. “It becomes a cliche sometimes to say that when an officer goes off to work he never knows what he might encounter. This really underscores the reality of the situation.

“When an officer kisses his wife goodbye or tucks his kids into bed and goes off to work, in the back of his mind is always the thought that I might not come back.”

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