Fallen Fargo Officer Jake Wallin remembered as ‘true guardian’ at funeral
Fallen Fargo Officer Jake Wallin was laid to rest Saturday morning at a private funeral and burial with military honors.
Fargo Police Department escorted the officer’s body along a two-and-a-half-hour procession route from the Fargo Police Substation to Pequot Lakes High School where his funeral service took place at 10:30 a.m.
People paid their respects on Saturday along the procession route — which included Motley, Baxter and Nisswa — with flags and waves.
Officer Wallin was killed on July 14 by a man who shot at officers from a car while they were responding to a crash scene. Law enforcement killed the gunman, Mohamad Barakat, 37, who had more than 1,800 rounds of ammunition in his car, along with a grenade and other explosives, according to North Dakota officials.
Two other officers were injured in the incident; Officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes are currently in serious condition at the hospital.
Jake Wallin, to his immediate family, was a son, an older brother and a fiancé. At 23 years old, he had already served in the military and been deployed twice. He bought a home just a month before he died, his aunt, Jodi Wallen, told the full gymnasium, and he was finishing his training at the Fargo Police Department.
Fargo Police Chief Dave Zibolski remembered the first time he met Jake Wallin during the young officer’s interview to join the Fargo Police Department on Nov. 28, 2022.
Jake Wallin was a standout cadet, especially for his age, Zibolski said, and he knew what he wanted out of his law enforcement career. Zibolski listed the late officer’s goals, according to notes the police chief took during the interview process.
“Jake said, ‘You know, I want a job with meaning and purpose behind it.’ Secondly, he wanted to set an example,” Zibolski said. “Thirdly, he mentioned in his video made during his time at the academy that he wants to make a difference somehow.”
Zibolski went on to say all three goals were accomplished by the young officer in his final moments.
“We now know from body-worn camera even a little more than was described yesterday about Jake’s valor. As this rifle-wielding suspect fired rounds, striking officer Dotas and Hawes, Jake hurried to create distance intuitively,” Zibolski continued. “And at the same time, pull his gun out. He was taking aim at the suspect when he was fatally struck.”
“That’s the mark of a true guardian,” he continued. “Jake wanted to make a difference somehow. And he certainly did.”
“Jake was the little boy I adored who grew into the man I admired,” Jodi Wallin said at the podium.
Jodi Wallin described the man behind the uniform as ambitious from day one and a fierce protector of those he loved. He was a self-starter who was never afraid of a challenge, she said.
“I loved watching him play football as a linebacker for the St. Michael-Albertville [High School] Knights,” she continued. “But the first time he played football, being on the smaller side, we didn’t know how he would do. After that first hit, he got up and the next time around, he totally leveled that guy.”
Zibolski, alluding to an earlier story where he mispronounced Wallin’s name during orientation said, “And one thing we can say for sure, that after today, no one’s ever going to have to be told how to pronounce Jake Wallin’s name.”
“You will forever be etched in our memory,” he said.
Wallin was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, which was presented to his parents by Zibolski, and the Minnesota Distinguished Service Medal from the Minnesota National Guard, signed by Gov. Tim Walz.
Iowa Army National Guard Chaplain Jordan Helming led the service, leaving those listening in the gymnasium at Pequot Lakes High School and livestreaming from home with a message to follow in Wallin’s footsteps by “dedicat[ing] yourself to the cause of righteousness.”
“Whether you patrol your community, whether you train for war, whatever it is that you do, dedicate yourself to doing the right thing. For the right reasons,” Helming said.
“To each of us who knew him, he was just Jake,” the officer’s aunt said of the many unsaid stories on Saturday. “There will never be another like him. He was greatly loved, and he is dearly and deeply missed.”
A public celebration of life for Officer Wallin will take place at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Scheels Arena in Fargo.