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POLICE: Fargo man injured in weekend assault not expected to live

A 47-year-old man attacked in Fargo early Sunday morning while walking home from downtown is on life support and not expected to live, Police Sgt. Ross Renner said this afternoon at a news conference.

Renner identified the man as Ronald Lee Hammersmith, of Fargo, adding that he would not get into the details of the investigation, which is ongoing.

Authorities have identified a male suspect in his 20s and have contacted him, but he is not in custody at this time, Renner said.

He declined to say whether the man had been interviewed by police, saying that authorities believe the incident was isolated and the public is not at risk.

Renner would not comment about Hammersmith's injuries, whether a weapon was used, whether the victim knew the suspect or whether the victim was mugged.

Police dispatch reports indicate the man was bleeding seriously from the head and mugged.

Police were called to the 1000 block of Ninth Avenue South at 2:43 a.m. Sunday. Hammersmith told them he was assaulted between the 200 and 400 blocks of 10th Street South, Renner said.

Renner would not comment about Hammersmith's condition when police responded.

Hammersmith was taken to MeritCare Hospital for treatment. Around 3:20 p.m. Sunday, MeritCare officials contacted police to inform them Hammersmith's condition had deteriorated and he was not expected to live, Renner said.

Family members are "traumatized" by the incident, Renner said. The family has asked hospital officials not to release a condition report on Hammersmith, according a MeritCare spokesperson.

Renner would not comment on the types of charges possible, saying that the Cass County State's Attorney's Office would make that determination once the investigation is forwarded to the office.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them at (701) 241-1405.

Police dispatch reports regarding the incident revealed the following:

A man called authorities saying he had received a call from his friend who said he was walking home from downtown and was hit.

The man said he was asked his name and when he answered, he was hit in the head and his wallet was stolen.

The responsible was described as a skinny white male, about 20 to 30 years old with long blond hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, tan or blue pants. He was alone and was on foot and left in an unknown direction of travel.