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Man flees Fargo traffic stop, pays stranger for hoax 911 call as distraction, police say

FARGO--A man who fled a traffic stop here Tuesday night paid someone else to make a hoax call on his own phone to try throwing officers off his trail, police say.

FARGO-A man who fled a traffic stop here Tuesday night paid someone else to make a hoax call on his own phone to try throwing officers off his trail, police say.

Tayon Walker, 22, of Minneapolis, was booked into the Cass County Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle and fleeing officers late Tuesday night after leading police on an at-times confusing trail stretching across Fargo.

Fargo Police Sgt. Chris Helmick said he made a traffic stop on a suspected stolen vehicle, driven by Walker, near the Casey's General Store at 1401 S. University Drive about 8:30 p.m.

Helmick said Walker ran away after being pulled over. An underage girl, who Helmick said Walker did not know, stayed behind and was questioned in an unmarked vehicle by armored vest-wearing officers from the street crimes task force. Officers determined the girl was only a witness, and she was not charged, Helmick said.

About 15 to 20 minutes after fleeing the traffic stop, Walker allegedly paid someone to make an emergency call to dispatchers from his own cellphone, said Helmick, who said he couldn't say how much money was exchanged.


"He paid another person that he didn't know to make the phone call to dispatch about the shooting to distract us," Helmick said.

Dispatchers originally sent police and ambulance crews to Royal Liquors at 2726 Broadway, where someone was reportedly shot, with three suspects fleeing from the scene.

Some time after that, the address of the supposed shooting was switched to the Royal Liquors at 1550 32nd Ave. S.

It wasn't known early Wednesday morning what prompted the switch of locations, but Helmick said he believed the person who made the phone call to dispatchers only made one call.

Multiple squad cars swarmed the south Fargo area, with a handful posted in the blocks surrounding the store. But the scene was quiet, with customers coming and going from the liquor store shortly after. Employees said they didn't see or hear anything unusual.

Helmick said officers found nothing at either liquor store, and there was no threat to the public.

Because the initial report of the shooting was made with Walker's cellphone, police were able to pinpoint his location using technology normally used for emergencies.

"In emergency situations, if a phone has been used, the phone companies can do what we call a 'ping,' and the ping will give the last known location of the phone," Helmick said.


That ping led police to the area of First Avenue South and University Drive, where Walker was found and arrested without incident.

Police do not know who Walker allegedly paid to make the call, Helmick said.

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