FARGO — One man is in custody after police say he fired at officers and then into a front window of the Radisson Hotel at 201 Fifth St. N. in downtown Fargo early Friday, Nov. 15.
After receiving a report of a man with a gun at about 4 a.m., officers arriving at the scene saw a green laser being pointed in all directions. Officers then saw a man holding a gun with a laser outside of the front entrance of the hotel.
"The male fired one shot towards officers, and then turned and fired additional shots into the Radisson lobby through the glass window next to the front doors," Fargo Police Chief David Todd said during a 9 a.m. news conference, adding that the glass of the front window was shattered.
A north-facing window in the skyway above the Radisson entrance was also struck during the altercation.
Todd said the man then went into the hotel lobby. Police followed him inside and took the man down at gunpoint.
The man, identified as 54-year-old Henry Aiken of Fargo, was taken into custody, Todd said, adding that it appeared he was confused and in crisis.
Aiken, who Todd said has a history with police, was carrying a revolver. Officers took Aiken to a hospital to be checked out, and officers later transferred him to the Cass County Jail. He is expected to face a charge of aggravated reckless endangerment, according to Todd.
While police were setting up a perimeter around the scene and shots were being fired, one officer was injured when his rifle accidentally discharged, striking his hand.
Todd said the injury to Sgt. Matt Ysteboe is serious but not life-threatening. Ysteboe was being treated for his wound at Sanford Medical Center, the chief said. Multiple sources in law enforcement later said Ysteboe was transferred to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities.
Ysteboe has been with the department since December 2001 and served as a detective for a number of years before being promoted to sergeant in 2016. He's currently a patrol supervisor on the night shift.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his wife as he goes through the medical procedures necessary to repair his hand," Todd said.
As of late Friday morning, officers were still downtown working the scene of the shooting at the Radisson.
Todd said it appeared that before the shooting, Aiken may have been the driver of a vehicle that ran into the front of the downtown Gate City Bank building.
Todd said when the shooting began at the Radisson, a number of people inside the hotel locked themselves in an office and were not injured. Police believe they have accounted for all of the bullets fired during the incident, adding that bullets that went through the front window at the hotel became lodged in the steps of a stairway, the chief said.
A fire alarm was also pulled at the Radisson during the event. Todd said they believe it was likely the shooter who pulled it.
Several guests staying at the Radisson seemed unaware and taken aback by the incident. Ann-Pell Rongen, who grew up in this area and now lives in Idaho, said she didn’t hear any sound of gunshots or other noises early this morning. “It's very surprising, and I visit Fargo often, coming back to Minnesota from Idaho, and you don't hear about things like this often,” Rongen said.
Chris Schlepp, operations manager for the Downtown Business Improvement District, said safety is first and foremost on his mind, and incidents like this can come with a growing population.
“Things like this, I don’t want to say are going to happen more, but they could. And I think the way that our police force reacts and comes to these situations I think it shows, demonstrates how effective they are in their training,” Schlepp said.
A check of North Dakota court records shows that Aiken was convicted of three felony charges in Williams County in 2015, stemming from a shooting at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home in Williston, N.D.
According to court documents related to that incident:
Williston police were called to the nursing home on a report of a man wishing to "turn himself in." While enroute to the nursing home, officers were informed that shots had been fired in the building.
Upon arriving, police saw a man later identified as Aiken walking toward them holding a revolver. The man was told to put the gun down, and he complied.
A review of surveillance video showed Aiken entering the nursing home and talking to a woman identified as his girlfriend who was an employee of the nursing home.
The woman told police Aiken arrived at the facility in an agitated state. The surveillance video showed that after talking to his girlfriend, Aiken walked down several hallways in the nursing home before firing a round at the door of a room.
The court documents say that as he walked around the nursing home carrying the gun, he pointed it at a number of people, making them fear for their safety.
The round that was fired at a door went through a glass pane in the door before lodging in the door frame.
In that incident, Aiken pleaded guilty in Williams County District Court to a number of charges, including reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, terrorizing and criminal mischief.
In September 2017, he was sentenced in that case to four years in prison, with three additional years suspended. At the time of his sentencing, he was given credit for having already served about two years of the four-year sentence.
The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stated Friday afternoon that Aiken was released on parole to a Fargo halfway house on Jan. 8.