- Associated Press - Monday, September 28, 2015

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A Fargo police officer shot a 31-year-old car theft suspect three times Monday after the man aimed a replica gun with a laser pointer at him, the city’s police chief said.

Officer Patrick Thomas confronted the suspect early Monday at a fast food restaurant’s parking lot in southwest Fargo, Police Chief Dave Todd said.

“The male did have what appeared to be a real gun, with a laser pointer on it, and was circling the Fargo police officer around his squad car,” Todd said in a news conference at police headquarters. The officer fired after the suspect pointed the weapon at him.

The weapon turned out to be a “BB gun or pellet gun that is a replica of a real gun,” Todd said.

The suspect was taken to a hospital for surgery. There was no immediate word on his condition. No officers were injured in the shooting.

Thomas has been with Fargo police since October 2014 and previously worked as an officer at North Dakota State University. Thomas has been placed on administrative leave until an investigation by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation can be completed.

The incident began about 3 a.m. in Traill County, about 30 miles north of Fargo, after a vehicle was reported stolen. Later, after sheriff’s deputies from Traill and Cass counties gave up pursuing the vehicle, a caller to Fargo police reported that a car had been driving the wrong direction on 13th Avenue South and had stopped in a nearby parking lot.

The 2000 Dodge Stratus was reported stolen last December in Bottineau.

Fargo police Lt. Michael Mitchell said the suspect is expected to be charged Tuesday and that more information will be released then. Police say a woman was in the car with the man. She was being held at the Cass County Jail on Monday afternoon but hadn’t been charged.


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