FARGO — The man accused of attempted murder in a shooting downtown last week previously worked on a high-profile construction project near where he was arrested, The Forum has learned.
Henry Aiken, 54, was employed by McGough Construction, general contractor on the Block 9 project.
Police apprehended him at the Radisson Hotel, less than a block from McGough’s jobsite office in the former American Legion building.
The Block 9 tower on Broadway and Second Avenue North is being developed by the Gov. Doug Burgum-backed Kilbourne Group and R.D. Offutt Co.
Jay Edenborg, marketing director at McGough headquarters in Roseville, Minn., said Aiken was hired as a laborer for McGough on the Block 9 project on Jan. 14.
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He said Aiken’s position was eliminated in late September, along with others, as part of a normal and expected reduction in the labor force as parts of the job were completed.
“By all accounts, Henry Aiken was a well-liked and hardworking employee,” Edenborg said.
He was unable to comment on whether there was any connection between the shooting and Aiken’s departure from McGough. He did say the company was in communication with Fargo police on the morning of the incident, but has not been in contact since.
Aiken was hired less than a week after the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released him on parole to a Fargo halfway house. Aiken had been serving time on felony charges for a 2015 shooting in Williams County.
According to court documents in that case, police responded to the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home in Williston, where shots had been fired.
Aiken had shown up there in an agitated state, looking to speak with a woman identified as his girlfriend who worked at the nursing home, court documents stated.
Armed with a revolver, he had fired a round at a door in the facility and pointed the gun at several people. When police arrived and told him to put the gun down, he complied, court documents stated.
Aiken pleaded guilty to charges that included reckless endangerment and terrorizing.
According to charging documents, the man later identified as Aiken ignored police commands to drop the gun, pointed his .38 caliber revolver at Officer Joseph Vegel and fired, but missed.
Aiken then shot out a hotel window before jumping through the broken glass into the lobby, where he surrendered shortly after police came inside, charging documents said.
Aiken faces felony charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, terrorizing, reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He’s being held in the Cass County Jail, with a bail amount of $500,000.
Before bail was set, Aiken disputed the charges against him, telling Cass County District Judge John Irby he was shooting at a building, not a person.