Remembering Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer, five years after his death

Fargo Officer Jason Moszer was shot and killed in 2016 by a man during a standoff after he and others responded to a domestic dispute. His widow, since remarried, prefers to focus on how he lived, not how he died.

Emma Vatnsdal / InForum

FARGO — A memorial service Thursday, Feb. 11 marks five years that have passed since the shooting death of Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer — a crime that shook the community and the police department in ways they hadn’t been before felt.

Police Chief David Zibolski and Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney will speak, and Police Chaplain Father Raymond Courtright gave the benediction at the 11 a.m. ceremony in the Fargo City Commission Chambers.

The ceremony concluded with a three-volley salute and taps.


Moszer’s widow, who has since remarried and goes by Rachel Erdmann, also attended.

She was asked how often she thinks about that fateful event.

“Like, every day,” Erdmann said.


On Feb. 11, 2016, Moszer died from a single gunshot wound sustained in an hours-long standoff with a man who later killed himself.

Jason Moszer
Jason Moszer, 33, a six year Fargo Police Department veteran, died in the line of duty on Feb. 11, 2016.


The event would shatter families, bring an outpouring of support, prompt changes in protective gear for officers and leave an indelible scar on the community.

Moszer, 33, who had six years on the force, was so much more than a police officer, Erdmann said.

He was a veteran who served as a medic with the Minnesota National Guard in Bosnia and Iraq.

He was a husband and father who liked to camp, cook and entertain.

“For me, I want the focus to be on how he lived, not on how he died,” Erdmann said.

Timeline of events

What began as a call of a domestic disturbance at 308 9th Ave. N. just after 7 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2016 would quickly escalate into a standoff with law enforcement that stretched into the next morning.

Inside, Marcus Schumacher, 49, had fired a weapon toward his wife, Michelle Schumacher; other family members who were also there were able to escape.


Former Schumacher home.jpg
Damage is seen at the former home of Marcus and Michelle Schumacher at 308 9th Ave. N. following a standoff and deadly shooting. The Forum

Police set up a perimeter and alerted neighbors to stay in their homes, preferably in the basement.

Schumacher fired multiple times in various directions toward officers, and at 8:50 p.m., the local SWAT team was called.

He continued to pepper the neighborhood with gunfire, and at 9:26 p.m., a call of “officer down” could be heard over the police radio.

Officer Jason Moszer had taken cover behind a garage in a nearby alley, but Schumacher’s aim found him.

Moszer was wearing two bullet resistant vests at the time, but they couldn’t protect against the bullet that struck him in the head.

After he was rushed to the hospital, officers began launching the first of dozens of tear gas canisters into the house.

An armored vehicle was used to ram into the house, and robots were deployed to see what was happening inside.


At one point, a police sniper fired two shots, striking Schumacher in the arm.

Schumacher would then turn his rifle on himself, shooting himself in the head.

Marcus Schumacher, 49, shot Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer while he was barricaded inside his home on Feb. 10, 2016. Schumacher then killed himself. Moszer died at a Fargo hospital just after noon the next day.

According to search warrant documents, police entered the home at 5:50 a.m. and found Schumacher dead on the living floor, with a bolt-action rifle under his body.

With spent shell casings scattered everywhere, he’d fired a total of 49 rounds.

Family and police officers remained at Moszer’s side at Sanford Medical Center, but his injury was not survivable.

He was taken off life support at 12:45 p.m. that day.


“It’s like losing a brother,” said then Police Chief David Todd, at the time.

Blue lights and a proper sendoff

A horrified and saddened community reached out to the Moszer family and the Fargo Police Department in the days and weeks that followed.

Donations of food and money poured in, and blue lights shone from porches city-wide in a visual show of support.

A blue light shines on a north Fargo home on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in remembrance of Officer Jason Moszer. Rick Abbott / The Forum
A blue light shines on a north Fargo home on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in remembrance of Officer Jason Moszer. Rick Abbott / The Forum

Plans were made for Moszer’s funeral on Feb. 22 at Scheel’s Arena, which drew 3,600 people, including 2,800 law enforcement officers from all over the country.

The funeral procession afterward, made up of hundreds of first responder vehicles, traced along a 21-mile route through Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead, past the Fargo Police Department, Sanford hospital, where Moszer died, and the Moorhead Armory, where Moszer served in the Minnesota National Guard.


Fargo Police Chief David Todd speaks at the funeral of fallen officer Jason Moszer on Feb. 22, 2016. The Forum

Moszer was the second officer to die in the line of duty in Fargo, with the last shooting death occurring in 1882, before North Dakota became a state.

“We have a hole in our hearts that we don’t know how to fill,” said Chief Todd, at the time.

The funeral procession for Fargo police officer Jason Moszer is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Moszer’s widow kept a low profile, but on March 11, one month after the standoff, she and her children dropped the puck at a Fargo Force game in her late husband’s memory.

In mid April, she sat down for an interview with The Forum at her home in Sabin, Minn.

When Chief Todd had knocked on her door that night with the news her husband had been shot, a frightening possibility had become reality.

"I'd actually had this dream a thousand times," she said during the interview. "Jason and I had talked about it a lot."

In the wake of the tragedy, the Fargo Police department announced a desire to buy rifle-round resistant helmets for all 50 of its squad cars, for about $2,000 apiece.

When the city said it could fund only half of that amount, Gate City Bank donated money to fill the gap so the helmets could be purchased.

A separate donation was made for a Fargo Police contingent to attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in May 2017, when Moszer’s name would be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Moszer was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest decoration.

A hackberry tree donated by the Fargo Park District and the granite marker created by Memorials and Custom Stone Creations of Fargo honor the memory of Jason Moszer near the north entrance to Island Park in downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Another family, also torn

Just days after the tragic shooting, then-Chief Todd may have surprised some people by what he asked the public to do next.

While Moszer’s wife and two children were his primary concern, he said, Todd reminded the public that Michelle Schumacher and one of her sons were in danger from Marcus Schumacher that night, and police had been summoned to help.

He called on the community to rally behind them, as well.

“My faith and the mission I’ve sworn to uphold - tells me it’s the right thing to do,” Todd said in a Facebook post.

The gesture was appreciated by Michelle Schumacher, who still lives and works in Fargo.

For a long time, Schumacher felt deep shame for what happened, even though it was not of her doing.

“It kept me in a darker place for years,” she said.

Regular visits with a therapist have helped.

She said her husband, who was a good provider and person most of the time, got into a bad spot in life with anxiety, depression and drug use. Angry outbursts and erratic behavior became the norm.

They sought help for him, she said, but not enough. These mental health struggles don’t go away on their own, and people have to advocate for themselves and loved ones, she said.

Schumacher said her three adult children are doing well; even the youngest, who has cystic fibrosis and was the one who called 911 that night five years ago.

The home they lived in, heavily damaged in the standoff, was torn down in 2017 and another one was built in its place by Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity for a family in need.

She avoids the area now, because it makes her feel anxious and sad.

“I miss my neighbors,” she said.

Officer’s memory lives on in others

Moszer’s widow was remarried in June 2020 to Clay Erdmann.

Rachel Erdmann has an 8th grader and a high school junior at home, along with three new stepchildren from the marriage. She still works as a nurse at Essentia Health.

“We’re good,” she said.

In a Facebook post to her late husband on Wednesday, Feb. 10, shared with The Forum, Erdmann spoke of learning to find happiness again.

“In those five years I’ve gained three amazing bonus kids and I’ve found a man that allows you to still hold a piece of my heart,” Erdmann wrote.

She went on to say, “I’m confident that in my moving forward, I have done my best to honor the person you were and the relationship we had.”

The family visits Moszer’s grave in Riverside Cemetery when they can.

They take solace in knowing that people are alive who might otherwise not be, because of Moszer.

His donated organs were received by five people, including a local man now in his early 50s, who received Moszer’s heart.

The man came to Rachel and Clay’s wedding last summer.

After the memorial service Thursday, Erdmann will visit the cemetery and spend the rest of the day with family and friends, honoring and celebrating Jason Moszer.

Members of the public are invited to attend or watch the service on the City of Fargo broadcast channel 56, at or streamed live on social media platforms.

Other stories by Robin Huebner:

The 'Night Stalker' serial killings have North Dakota ties featured in new Netflix documentary series

Huebner: Looking back on Gattuso murder 10 years later

From our first COVID-19 case in this area, to the first vaccine, here's a look back at how 2020 changed us

Huebner is a 35+ year veteran of broadcast and print journalism in Fargo-Moorhead.
What To Read Next
Get Local