PEQUOT LAKES, Minn. — Hundreds of police officers, sheriff's deputies and National Guard soldier remembered Fargo police officer Jake Wallin at his funeral Saturday as a dedicated public servant with a disarmingly cheerful attitude who made a difference in his short life.

Wallin, 23, "was an exceptional young man who was taken from us too soon," said the Rev. Jordan Helming, who got to know Wallin when they were both serving with the Minnesota National Guard and stationed in Iraq.

Wallin, who joined the Fargo Police Department in April, was killed by a heavily armed gunman's bullet on July 14 during a traffic stop in south Fargo. North Dakota authorities now believe the gunman, who was killed by another officer after shooting Wallin and wounding several others, may have been planning a mass shooting.

The funeral service at Pequot Lakes High School drew about 1,000 people. Hundreds lined the highway leading into town, waving flags and holding signs as the funeral procession arrived after leaving Fargo early Saturday.

Jake Wallin's life was just beginning, his aunt Jodi Wallin said at the funeral. Besides a new job, he was engaged to his girlfriend, and only weeks ago had bought a house for them. He was so excited on closing day he went out and bought a lawnmower, Jodi Wallin said.

"He made friends wherever he went," she said. "When he smiled, he smiled with his whole being."

Helming said Wallin was diligent and hardworking in Iraq. He urged people at the funeral to follow Wallin's example, to dedicate themselves to the cause of righteousness, to do the right thing for the right reason, and to not allow what happened to Wallin to "sow the seeds of hatred in your heart."

Wallin was a native of St. Michael, Minn., and a 2018 graduate of St. Michael-Albertville High School. The Minnesota National Guard said he began serving in December 2017 as a cannon crewman and was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq from November 2020 to July 2021.

Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski said he met Wallin last November, when he interviewed for his job. Wallin told the chief he wanted a job with purpose, that he wanted to set an example and make a difference in the world.

Zibolski said Wallin accomplished all three goals.

Wallin, who was still in field training, was one of several officers called to investigate a fender bender in south Fargo on the afternoon of July 14. The routine call turned suddenly violent minutes after officers arrived when, authorities say, Mohamad Barakat opened fire with a .223-caliber long rifle from an adjacent parking lot.

In addition to killing Wallin, Barakat, 37, injured two other officers and a bystander. A fourth Fargo officer fired back, killing Barakat. Investigators later said an investigation of his online active found searches for "kill fast" and "mass shooting events."

Zibolski said the ambush happened so fast that it knocked down the first two officers almost immediately. Wallin, who was third to be shot, was able to draw his service weapon and was taking aim when he was shot and killed. In his final moments, Zibolski said, Wallin was reflexively responding with valor.

Zibolski awarded Wallin two commendations, the Fargo Police Department's Purple Heart and its Medal of Honor. He handed the awards to Wallin's parents, Jeff and Amy Wallin, near the end of the funeral service.

As the procession left the high school and headed to Nisswa for a private burial, Vance and Jennifer Stemen of Dickey, North Dakota, stood on the side of the road to take it all in. Vance's son and Jennifer's stepson, Zach, was in the same cadet class as Wallin, and stood next to him on April 19 when they were sworn in to the police department.

Their son was off-duty on the day of the shooting.

"I hope to never come to an officer's funeral again," Vance Stemen said.

Wallin's survivors include his parents, his brother Brady, his fiancé, Winter Malone, and his grandparents John and Carolee Wallin of Pequot Lakes, and Jerry and Deborah Shuler of Rock Hill, S.C., along with aunts, uncles and cousins.

The Wallin family and Fargo police will host a public celebration of life at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, at Scheels Arena in Fargo.