Potential legal fallout unclear for Fargo robbery victim who shot at fleeing suspect
Victim's use of a handgun raises questions
FARGO — On Thursday, June 10, Daryn Kapaun and two of his employees were in the Mister Money payday loan and pawn shop Kapaun owns in Fargo when a man armed with what appeared to be a gun entered the store.
The robber left the business a short while later taking with him an undisclosed amount of money.
As the man sped away in a car, one of Kapaun's employees who was armed with a handgun fired several times at the fleeing vehicle.
Later that same day, police apprehended Hunter David Havisto , 21, the man authorities believe committed that robbery and other offenses during a multi-day crime spree last week.
Havisto remains in the Cass County Jail in lieu of $500,000 cash bail.
He faces a list of charges in Cass County District Court , including four counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery, two counts of burglary and three counts of property theft for allegedly stealing two vehicles and a bicycle.
A police spokeswoman said a report that addresses the use of a firearm at the pawn shop will likely be completed and sent to the Cass County State's Attorney's Office for review and possible charges.
In response to questions, Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick said it was too early to say whether charges will be filed against the pawn shop employee.
"We have not yet reviewed a report specifically addressing that employee’s actions, but we are of course aware of the general circumstances," Burdick said.
After the incident at the pawn shop, Kapaun said the worker who shot at the fleeing vehicle was not trying to shoot the suspect, but instead was trying to make the vehicle more noticeable for police to find.
"There was no intent to shoot the suspect at all," he said, adding that all his employees have concealed weapon permits and are proficient shooters who have trained at local gun ranges.
Mark Friese, a local defense attorney who worked for a time as a police officer, said based on what is known about the incident at the pawn shop it doesn't appear the shooting was permissible under law.
"This is the type of conduct that would get a police officer fired and this is the type of conduct a citizen should not be engaged in," Friese said.
He added that for decades the U.S. Supreme Court has said that no one, including police officers, can use deadly force to prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect unless there is a good faith belief that the person poses a significant threat of death or bodily injuries to others.
Kapaun said Thursday, June 17, that he didn't have much new to say about the incident, except that he remains grateful no one was hurt.
"I think we're all blessed that nobody was injured and the police did a great job getting this guy off the street by picking him up right away. That's the main thing," Kapaun said.
"Everybody can try to sleep at night," he added. "It's not the easiest thing in the world after you've had a gun pointed in your face."
Havisto’s alleged crime spree
According to court records:
The alleged crime spree began the morning of June 6, when Tropical Smoothies, 2424 13th Ave. S., in Fargo, was held up by a man who gave a note to the clerks saying he had a knife and wanted all of the money in the till.
As the robber ran out of the store, one of the employees chased him for a short while, until the suspect told him to stop or he would hurt him with the knife.
The night of Monday, June 7, according to court records, Havisto threatened to shoot a clerk at the 13th Avenue Walmart in Fargo unless the clerk gave him $700.
When told by the employee that the money was in the safe, the assailant fled in a Ford Taurus, which police later learned belonged to Havisto's girlfriend.
A short time later, police responded to a report of an armed robbery at Casey's General Store, 2902 13th Ave. S., Fargo, where a man matching Havisto's description took money from two cash registers before fleeing in a Taurus.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 8, an armed robbery at the M&H convenience store on Main Avenue prompted police to begin an extensive search for Havisto, whom police identified through a phone number used to call in an unfounded robbery at The Bowler minutes before the M&H robbery.
With the help of police dogs, authorities found a backpack near M&H containing Havisto's photo ID and some of the clothes he was allegedly wearing in the robbery.
Around noon on Thursday, June 10, a car was stolen from a Kum & Go gas station on 13th Avenue in Fargo when the car's owner was inside paying for gas.
A witness described a suspect matching Havisto's description and said the suspect drove off at high speed.
About a half-hour later, police responded to the robbery call at the Mister Money payday loan and pawn shop.
Officers later located Havisto at a nearby apartment building and he was arrested without incident.
Friese said even if prosecutors decide the shooting at the pawn shop was improper, it is not a certainty that charges will be filed.
"Prosecutors have discretion and they often exercise that discretion to not charge things that are crimes, just because of the circumstances. And that very well may be what happens here," Friese said.