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Fargo police officer who shot robbery suspect won't face charges

FARGO - Cass County's top prosecutor has decided not to press criminal charges against a Fargo police officer who shot and wounded a suspected armed robber last month during a shootout in downtown.

Fargo police Officer Matthew Niemeyer
Fargo police Officer Matthew Niemeyer
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FARGO – Cass County's top prosecutor has decided not to press criminal charges against a Fargo police officer who shot and wounded a suspected armed robber last month during a shootout in downtown.

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick found no reason to charge Officer Matthew Niemeyer in the shooting of 30-year-old Eric Webb, according to a letter Burdick sent to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation on Wednesday.

"There is no evidence to suggest that Niemeyer's actions on June 4, 2015, were anything other than a legitimate exercise of his public duty to arrest Webb and his right to defend himself and others against Webb's use of deadly force," Burdick wrote.

Before Webb was shot, he allegedly robbed the Howard Johnson Inn at 301 3rd Ave. N. and fired a handgun during the holdup, according to search warrants filed by the BCI, which investigated the shooting of Webb.

As Webb fled from the hotel, he shot twice at Officer Todd Wahl, who was driving a squad car, and missed both times, the search warrants said.

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Webb fired a third round that pierced Niemeyer's squad car, hitting a bag sitting on the front passenger seat next to Niemeyer, according to the search warrants. Niemeyer then shot twice at Webb, hitting him once in the back.

"Niemeyer may not have seen the gun in Webb's hand and may not have known that Webb had already fired at him. However, based upon the reports of Webb's recent behavior and Webb's current behavior toward Niemeyer, Niemeyer correctly concluded he was under attack by Webb," Burdick wrote in his letter to the BCI. "Webb's actions occurred during a summer afternoon, in the near downtown area of Fargo with civilians close enough to witness the events, and hence close enough to be potentially injured by Webb's actions."

Burdick's letter said Niemeyer's encounter with Webb lasted just seconds. After being shot, Webb was arrested and taken to Sanford Medical Center. He was eventually booked into the Cass County Jail, where he remains with a bail amount of $1 million.

Webb, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is charged in Cass County District Court with two felonies: robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon. His court-appointed attorney, Patrick Rosenquist, has said the case may be transferred to federal court.

On Thursday, Sgt. Jared Crane of the Fargo Police Department said he's still conducting an internal investigation into the shooting of Webb but declined to comment further.

Niemeyer was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, which is department policy. He's scheduled to return to work Monday, Sgt. Shawn Gamradt said.

The department's last officer-involved shooting was in 2008 when a Fargo officer and three Clay County sheriff's deputies exchanged fire with a suspected kidnapper in Moorhead, seriously injuring him.

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