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Hero Down: West Fargo Police Lt. Adam Gustafson Dies After On-Duty Heart Attack

West Fargo, ND – West Fargo Police Department (WFPD) Lieutenant Adam Gustafson died in the line of duty on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack, according to his department.

Lt. Gustafson, 40, was at the WFPD station when the medical emergency occurred on the afternoon of May 18, the agency said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

His fellow officers and West Fargo firefighters immediately rendered aid until an ambulance arrived and rushed him to Sanford Emergency Department, the WFPD said.

Lt. Gustafson succumbed to complications of the medical emergency at the hospital.

The Cass County Coroner’s Office said the lieutenant suffered from “severe coronary artery disease and major arterial blockage,” which resulted in a “sudden fatal heart attack,” the WFPD confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.

The veteran officer joined the WFPD over a decade ago and was a “crucial” member of the agency, according to his department.

He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2018.

Lt. Gustafson was serving in the WFPD’s Patrol Division at the time of his death.

“Lieutenant Gustafson will be remembered for his contagious smile and laughter, along with his dedication, teamwork and service to the City of West Fargo,” West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness said in the post. “Lieutenant Gustafson has made a lasting impact within our department and he will never be forgotten.”

“The department’s thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Lieutenant Gustafson,” the WFPD said.

Cass County Sheriff Jess Jahner said he had worked alongside Lt. Gustafson on many occasions over the years.

“He always had the best interest of the West Fargo Citizens and West Fargo Police Department in mind,” Sheriff Jahner said in a press release on Wednesday. “Lieutenant Gustafson represented the citizens of West Fargo with a high degree of professionalism, integrity, and honor and was the type of person that always brought a calm but very level and strategic thought process to the table. Lieutenant Gustafson touched many people with his personality and always brought a smile to your face.”

A memorial table was set up in the grand foyer of West Fargo City Hall on Wednesday in honor of the fallen lieutenant, the WFPD said in a Facebook post.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of West Fargo Police Department Lieutenant Adam Gustafson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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