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Deputy Marshal Shoots Light In Busy Fargo Bar

February 20, 1988

FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ Prosecutors may decide by Monday whether they will bring charges against a U.S. deputy marshal who pulled out a gun in a bustling bar and shot out a light, apparently on a dare from a fellow lawman.

″It’s not a conscious decision to put it off, it’s more like we haven’t had time to get at it,″ Cass County State’s Attorney Robert Hoy said Friday.

No one was injured in the incident Thursday night, said city police Lt. James Kuchera.

The shooting took place at a going-away party for a city police officer and was witnessed by as many as 20 lawmen, Kuchera said. Witnesses said it appeared the marshal pulled the gun on a dare from a fellow law officer.

The bar was nearly full at the time, said bartender Brit Stevens.

The officer who fired the shot was escorted out of the bar by two companions before on-duty policemen arrived, Stevens said.

Although police knew the shooter’s identity, they chose not to arrest him because they did not consider him a threat to run, Kuchera said. Investigators interviewed the marshal Friday, he said.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service identified the gunman as Deputy U.S. Marshal Gary Carroll, 32, of Fargo. Mark Sorenson, a spokesman for the Marshal’s Service, said the agency chose to release the officer’s name before he was charged to allay fears of a coverup.

Marshal’s Service investigators were expected to arrive Monday, Sorenson said.

Kuchera said he did not feel the suspect was receiving preferential treatment because he was a law officer.

″It’s really not unusual (for no arrest to be made) depending on who shoots the gun,″ Kuchera said. ″If it’s someone well known in the community ... who we have no concern about absconding from the community, it could happen the same way.″

Carroll was a Fargo policeman from 1979 to 1986.

The Forum reported in today’s editions that he was one of seven officers suspended in May 1981 for stealing a keg of beer from the police department’s identification bureau. The keg had been confiscated after police broke up a party attended by juveniles.

Carroll was accused of carrying the keg to another officer’s pickup for use at a party. He was suspended without pay for four days, the newspaper said.

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