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Fargo Police chief asks public for sympathy for cop shooter's family

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Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer was shot during a police standoff last Wednesday night. Moszer, 33, was guarding the perimeter of a tense scene resulting from a domestic disturbance when he was shot at, hit once, and critically wounded. Moszer spent that night and the following morning in a Fargo emergency room, and was declared dead around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. 

Since that time, the North Dakota border town has seen an outpouring of grief. Moszer, a six-year-veteran of the force, was the first officer killed in the line of duty in 100 years. A funeral has been scheduled for February 22 at the Scheels Arena in Fargo; the event venue became necessary to accommodate an estimated 2,500 police officers who will come from far and wide to pay their respects. 

Until his funeral, at least one Fargo Police Department officer will stay with Moszer's body at all times, the Fargo Forum reports. 

"When you’re faced with an unfortunate passing of somebody who’s as dedicated to his job and his family as Officer Moszer was, it’s simply a must that we stand guard until he is laid to rest," Officer Caleb Korb told the Forum.

In light of all the attention and emotion, Fargo Police Chief David Todd posted a surprising message to the department's Facebook page Sunday afternoon, just three days after Moszer had died. Caring for Moszer's family — he was married and a father of two — and his grieving fellow officers has been "all-consuming," Todd said, and with good reason.

But lately, the chief has also found himself thinking of another grieving family: the shooter's. Marcus Schumacher, 49, was also fatally shot Wednesday night, though it remains unclear if the wound that killed him came from police or was self-inflicted. 

Sympathy for the fallen officer's family is proper, Todd says, but it's also right to pay attention to the shooter's family.

Sympathy for the fallen officer's family is proper, Todd says, but it's also right to pay attention to the shooter's family.

Todd wrote that he was "thinking of Mrs. Schumacher," Marcus' wife, Michelle, and their son. It was Michelle's panicked call to 911 that led police to the Schumacher home in the first place.

"They were the victims we were initially responding to - in order to protect them from a dangerous armed person," Todd wrote. 

As the community seeks ways to get through the tragic loss of Moszer and pull together, Todd hopes that effort does not leave out Michelle Schumacher. 

Writes Todd:

"I want our community to know that although my focus and the focus of my command staff needs to be on the Moszer family and our officers right now, perhaps this is a time the community can reach out to Mrs. Schumacher and her son and look for ways to help them. In our mission To Protect and Serve, the men and women of the Fargo Police Department would also appreciate seeing that happen. My faith and the mission I’ve sworn to uphold - tells me it’s the right thing to do.

Response to the chief's post has been overwhelmingly positive: In less than 24 hours, it was shared 1,600 times, and hundreds of comments have thanked Todd for trying to stretch the city's blanket of sympathy to cover an innocent woman, a domestic violence victim, who feared for her life and the life of her son. 

"To do nothing is supporting the shooter," writes one commenter, "to do something is supporting Jason [Moszer]. This is what he WAS trying to do! Let's show our honor and respect and finish the job."