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North Dakota officer honored by NRA for bravery under fire

Officer Zachary Robinson of the Fargo Police Department has been named NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2023. Officer Robinson and several comrades were ambushed in the street and he engaged and killed the suspect.Officer Zachary Robinson of the Fargo Police Department has been named NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2023. Officer Robinson and several comrades were ambushed in the street and he engaged and killed the suspect.Fargo PD/NRA

A Fargo, North Dakota, police officer has been named the 2023 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his actions during an ambush attack on July 14, 2023 that left a fellow officer dead and two others seriously injured.

Officer Zachary Robinson engaged the suspect, drew fire from his wounded comrades and fatally shot him.

Just before 3 a.m. on Friday, July 14, 2023, Fargo officers were investigating a traffic accident on a main road in the city when they came under fire from an unknown assailant with a .223 caliber rifle.

The attacker, who was parked facing the roadway in a nearby parking lot, began shooting at three officers who had walked near his vehicle, hitting all three. The suspect continued shooting as he exited his vehicle, including shooting at the people involved in the collision and at the firefighters responding to the crash. One of the three officers, Jake Wallin, managed to fire one round before collapsing.

Officer Wallin was killed in the incident. Officer Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes were injured. A civilian was injured when she tried to run away.

Officer Zachary Robinson, who was standing on the street when the gunfire broke out, immediately spotted the suspect and returned fire with his gun, radioing for help and taking cover behind a vehicle.

Robinson’s fire knocked down the gunman and disabled his .223 rifle.

Video of the incident shows Robinson approaching the suspect and ordering him to drop the gun and raise his hands several times. The man tried to get his gun back into the fight but was unable to do so and then pulled out a 9mm handgun.

Robinson fired numerous rounds, hitting the gunman as he advanced. He then flanked the gunman by going around the back of the man’s car and shooting him multiple times.

Officials said Robinson fired 31 rounds during the gunfight, hitting the suspect 21 times.

“Officer Robinson showed exceptional bravery and courage when facing the armed violent suspect. Officer Robinson’s actions not only saved his life, but also the lives of fellow officers and civilians. “It is with great honor and pride that the National Rifle Association names Officer Zachary Robinson as the 2023 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year,” the NRA said.

“As NRA President, it is my great honor to recognize Officer Robinson for his courageous service to the Fargo community,” said Charles Cotton, NRA President. “Officer Robinson’s commitment to protecting his fellow officers and civilians is a testament to his courage and a testament to our nation’s very best who wear the uniform of law and order. The NRA proudly supports the heroic men and women of law enforcement and we are grateful for their service to our country.”

The NRA will present Officer Robinson with the 2023 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award and an engraved Glock firearm during the NRA Board of Directors Meeting following the 153rd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, scheduled for May 17-19, 2024, in Dallas.

For information about the NRA’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, visit https://awards.nra.org/awards/nra-officer-of-the-year-award/.