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Man fatally shoots himself near Main Avenue in Fargo

An unidentified man shot and killed himself early Saturday afternoon near one of Fargo's busiest intersections.

The man shot himself in the head shortly before 1 p.m., on the 100 block of 25th Street South, 20 to 25 minutes after first telling police that he intended to do himself bodily harm, police Lt. Joel Vettel said.

Police were still investigating the incident Saturday. Many details, including the man's name, were not available.

Fargo Police Sgt. Jeff Skuza, who confirmed late Saturday afternoon that the man was dead, said the man's identify won't be released until his family is notified. Skuza was uncertain how long that would take.

Vettel said from the scene that a Fargo police officer, later identified as Officer Dan Hansen, made a routine stop about 12:20-12:25 p.m. to help a motorist in the 2400 block of Main Avenue, about one block east of the intersection of Main Avenue and 25th Street.

At that point, the man who later shot himself approached Hansen, produced a handgun and said he was planning to harm himself.

The man had no apparent connection to the motorist.

Hansen immediately tried to get the man to give up the gun, Vettel said.

But the man put the gun to his own head and threatened his own life.

The man then began walking west along Main Avenue before turning south and crossing Main Avenue on the east side of 25th Street.

He shot himself, between the Simonson Lumber buildings and 25th Street, after walking about one block.

"It's just so rare in Fargo that we have an armed individual, walking down the street, threatening himself," Vettel said.

Because of the situation, more police were called to assist and block off the area, including stopping traffic on portions of 25th Street and Main Avenue for more than an hour.

Virtually all Fargo police officers on duty early Saturday afternoon, as well as several other officers armed with rifles, responded, Vettel said.

Officers repeatedly tried to "talk him down," or to persuade the man to give up peacefully, Vettel said.

All Fargo police receive training in how to deal with suicidal people, Vettel said.

Nearby businesses were instructed to lock their doors during the incident, Vettel said.

The employees at First National Pawn, 2305 Main Ave., received a phone call from authorities and were told not to let people leave the store, said Kyle Kastet, who was working in the pawn shop at the time.

People in the store saw police cars blocking Main Avenue and realized that something was going on but didn't know what, he said.

About half an hour later, the store was told it could let people out, Kastet said.

Simonson Lumber, 2400 Main Ave., was closed after the incident. A sign in the store window said the store closes at 12:30 Saturdays.

Main Avenue and 25th Street were reopened to traffic shortly after 1:30, about an hour after being blocked off.

Police were disappointed that the man shot himself, Vettel said.

"You never want that to happen," he said.

But police were pleased that no one else was hurt, he said.

"This was handled in a very professional manner," Vettel said.