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Police identify victim of homicide at north Fargo apartment

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Cass County Death Investigator Kriste Ross leaves the scene at 701 10th St. N. in Fargo on Friday, March 2, 2018. David Samson / The Forum4 / 11
Investigators walk the homicide scene at 701 10th St. N. in Fargo on Friday, March 2, 2018. David Samson / The Forum5 / 11
Jarryd George Heis6 / 11
The Fargo Police command vehicle is parked at the homicide scene at 701 10th St. N. in Fargo on Friday, March 2, 2018. David Samson / The Forum7 / 11
Daniel Benjamin Habiger8 / 11
Crime scene tape surrounds an apartment building at the corner of 10th Street North and Seventh Avenue on Friday, March 2. Robin Huebner / The Forum9 / 11
Police look through a dumpster outside an apartment building where a homicide was under investigation Friday, March 2. Robin Huebner / The Forum10 / 11
David Patrick Williams11 / 11

UPDATE: Investigators have identified the homicide victim as Jarryd George Heis, 32, of Fargo, city police said in a news release Saturday, March 3.

FARGO – News of a homicide at a north-side apartment building that’s been visited by police numerous times has rattled families, students and others living nearby.

Fargo police arrived at the tan and brown, three-level building on the corner of Seventh Avenue North and 10th Street North shortly before 6:30 a.m. Friday, March 2.

Dominique Alfaro, who lives next door with her infant son and fiance, saw the large police presence when she went out to walk her dog.

“It’s so scary. Makes me super nervous for my son. I shouldn’t have to worry about stepping out of my front door and seeing any of this,” Alfaro said as she looked out on the yellow crime scene tape surrounding the apartment building.

In a noon news conference, Fargo Police Chief David Todd said a suspect was arrested in connection with the homicide.

Todd said Daniel Benjamin Habiger, 29, of Fargo, called an emergency dispatcher about 6:20 a.m. Friday to say he was involved in a “physical altercation” that resulted in a man’s death. The chief declined to say whether a weapon was involved.

Officers soon arrested him at the north-side convenience store where he made the call, Todd said, and found the body of the unidentified man in Habiger’s apartment at 701 10th St. N.

Hours later, investigators were seen combing through a large garbage bin next to two discarded sofas in front of the apartment building.

Police said at noon that they were looking for a homeless man, David Patrick Williams, 45, who may have been in the apartment when the homicide occurred and may have witnessed the altercation. Authorities announced Friday afternoon on Facebook that Williams was found.

Previous trouble

The apartment building where the homicide took place is owned by Gille Properties, according to Cass County records.

Landlord David Gille said there are six units in the building and Habiger has lived alone in a lower-level efficiency there for about six months. Gille said he had no trouble with Habiger during that time.

“Absolutely not, nice young kid,” Gille said.

It’s not the first time trouble has been reported at the apartment building, however.

Todd acknowledged that officers have been dispatched there numerous times. Police records obtained by The Forum show officers have responded to incidents at the building 91 times since 2015.

One of the most recent incidents happened about 11 p.m. on Jan. 11 when a man approached an officer on patrol in the neighborhood to report that he'd just been shot. While the officer tried to help him, a second victim approached with a head injury. Both were taken to the hospital.

The victims told police that a masked man knocked on the door of the apartment, forced his way in and assaulted them.

Police said the January incident is still under investigation, and no arrests have been made.

According to the chief, there doesn’t appear to be a link between that incident and Friday’s homicide.

“We don’t see any connection to that whatsoever,” Todd said.

Kelsey Henderson, a North Dakota State University student who lives across the street, said she’s heard a lot of yelling at the property before, but heard nothing Thursday night, March 1, or Friday morning. She said she’s glad for the quick response from police.

“I see a police car at least once a day, and I think that makes me feel safer, just knowing they’re around,” Henderson said.

Criminal record

An autopsy will be done on the victim to determine his exact cause of death. After his identity is confirmed and family is notified, the victim’s name will be released, Todd said.

While Habiger has been booked into jail, he has not yet been charged, according to Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick. Burdick said Habiger will likely appear in court on Monday, March 5.

Court records show Habiger has a number of criminal convictions in North Dakota. Many are misdemeanors involving alcohol, but he also has Cass County convictions for felony simple assault in 2008 and felony aggravated assault in 2015.

Habiger also has a criminal record in Minnesota, including a felony conviction for fleeing in 2016, according to court records.

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