FARGO — Fargo police have completed a report regarding an incident that occurred Monday evening, May 3, in which a Valley News Live TV crew was confronted by an angry man outside of a burned-out building complex near downtown Fargo.
Jessica Schindeldecker, public information officer for the Fargo Police Department, confirmed Tuesday, May 4, that the report will be forwarded to the city attorney's office for potential charges.
According to a report aired on Valley News Live Monday evening, a reporter and videographer were preparing to do a live segment outside 1418 First Ave. N. in Fargo when a man drove a pickup truck onto the sidewalk and later approached the news crew on foot waving what appeared to be a screwdriver.
The Valley News Live report stated the man jabbed the tool at the crew's camera equipment and then left after the news crew told him they were calling police.
The incident happened outside a large warehouse and office complex that was heavily damaged in a major fire on Dec. 5.
Schindeldecker declined to identify the suspect in the incident, as no one had been arrested and charges had not been filed as of late Tuesday morning.
The Fargo City Commission voted 4-1 Monday to begin the process to have the fire-damaged complex demolished and removed by the end of June unless the owner, Gary Reinhart, has it torn down before that.
City Inspections Director Bruce Taralson told commissioners the 1939 building's roof and exterior walls have collapsed, and the structure is a danger to the public.
The cause of the fire, which was battled by the Fargo Fire Department with assistance from Moorhead and West Fargo firefighters, has been ruled undetermined.
Typically, when a commercial building becomes dilapidated, the owners work with Taralson's department to find solutions, he told commissioners. Reinhart hasn't done that, he said.
Taralson said that for more than 10 years there have been numerous complaints regarding the site, including junk, abandoned vehicles and unkempt property.
Reinhart, who had a permit to have part of the structure demolished by May 1, appeared before the commission Monday to request more time.
He said that since the fire, he has been collecting items from the structure, including coins, artifacts and antiques that had to be dug out of the rubble.
Reinhart said he hired a contractor to help demolish the building, but the contractor had other work to get done before starting on his property.
In asking for more time, Reinhart referenced the many animal statues surrounding the building, stating people "stop by all the time to take photos and send them all over the world."
The statues and other collections are junk to some, but art to others, Reinhart said.
He said if the city wants to tear the building down, "do it."
Renee Nygren, news director at Valley News Live, said Tuesday the station's reporter and photographer were shook up by the confrontation but unhurt.
She said the incident left the camera unworkable but it was being repaired.
Nygren said the newsroom in general is relieved no one was hurt.
"The safety of our crew is of utmost importance to us here," she said. "Everyone is happy and thankful they are doing OK."
If the city tears down the fire-damaged building, it won't be the first time Reinhart has had one of his buildings demolished by the city.
In 2015, a house Reinhart owned at 1411 First Ave. N. attracted complaints after it was defaced with a swastika and racist slogans.
By July 2015, the city was telling Reinhart to demolish the house, which the city considered a safety hazard due to fire damage. Reinhart said he sold the house, but the apparent private deal fell through, and the city demolished the home in November 2015.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Reinhart declined to speak at length, stating he was too busy to talk.