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Armed man dead after standoff with police in south Fargo

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A Fargo police officer stands by his vehicle during an armed standoff with a man at the Southeast Human Service Center at 2624 9th Ave. S. in Fargo. Ross Torgerson / The Forum3 / 6
Police block traffic near the scene of a standoff with an armed man on the 2600 block of Ninth Avenue South in Fargo on Thursday, Aug. 18. Ross Torgerson / The Forum4 / 6
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Police deployed a robot into the building just after 9 p.m. An officer on the scene said the robot's camera was to be used to survey the interior of the building. Ross Torgerson / The Forum6 / 6

FARGO – A 49-year-old Fargo man was found dead inside the Southeast Human Service Center after a lengthy standoff with police on Thursday evening, Aug. 18.

The man came into the center at 2624 9th Ave. S. about 7 p.m., displayed a gun and asked people in the building to leave, Deputy Chief Ross Renner said.

Renner said the man allowed the building to be evacuated and that he didn’t hurt anyone. He then went into a room and refused to come out, the deputy chief said.

It was unclear why the man came to the center, a state-run facility that offers mental health services and substance abuse treatment. Police negotiators were speaking with him on the telephone, trying to convince him to come outside, Renner said.

The SWAT team was sent to the scene, and a perimeter was established around the building. Renner said police were aiming for a peaceful resolution.

“We have a lot of time, and we’ll continue to work with this until we have a successful outcome,” he said when the man was still alive.

At some point, SWAT team members entered the building, and the man fired a single shot, Renner said. A bullet passed over the officers and exited the building, he said.

After the shot was fired, police sent a robot into the room, and the man was found dead, Renner said.

Renner said police believe the man fired the shot, but the deputy chief stopped short of saying the man’s death was a suicide.

Renner said police will have to do an investigation to determine how the man died. He said no officers fired their guns and that none of them were hurt.

Police announced the man’s death shortly after 10 p.m. His name was not released.

John Tomes, 46, of Fargo said he and others were in the center Thursday evening when an officer arrived and told them to leave. Tomes said he didn’t see or hear anything unusual as he exited the building.

“We were just asked to leave immediately,” he said.