FARGO — Police are investigating a report of a man shooting a gun in a Fargo home with his family inside, but the person officers detained in connection to the incident claimed that he was not at home and his wife made a false report.
As of Wednesday, Oct. 6, no charges had been filed against the man, who was not identified in connection with the Tuesday report of a domestic in the 700 block of 14th Street North. He was detained in Moorhead but later released.
Officers responded to a home after a woman inside reported her husband fired at least one bullet, Fargo Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said. The woman and a child exited the home safely, and officers set up a perimeter as they attempted to contact the man.
The incident prompted a response from the Red River Valley SWAT Team and police to issue a shelter-in-place advisory for the surrounding area.
Keith Foster lives directly behind the home where the call for police was made. For hours, he was forced to hangout in a parking lot after police said it was too dangerous to go home.
"My first thought was, 'I hope everybody is alright and safe,'" Foster said. "It was crazy, it was real wild."
A man who pulled up to a WDAY News reporter a few blocks away from the scene during the incident asked what was happening. He then told the reporter he was not at the home and claimed the woman made a false report.
Schindeldecker declined to say whether police expect charges out of the incident, adding the case remains under investigation. Whether anyone fired a gun in the home also remains under investigation, she said.
Police need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed to detain a person, but an arrest needs more evidence, Fargo defense attorney Mark Friese said. An arrest can be made when probable cause exists that the person committed a crime, which is a higher burden than reasonable suspicion.
In other words, police need evidence to prove it is more likely than not likely that a person has committed a crime. If that doesn’t exist, then that person must be released.
A person can be released and arrested later, which happens often, Friese said. Felonies warrant immediate arrest, while a person can’t be arrested on a misdemeanor charge unless police witness the crime, he added.
There are some exceptions for misdemeanor arrests, including domestic violence, Friese said. In that case, police would need probable cause and evidence of a physical injury, he said.
Forum reporter Barry Amundson contributed to this report.