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Published February 10 2012

Autopsy and 911 call reveal Fargo lawyer shot himself at I-29 rest stop

HILLSBORO, N.D. – An autopsy has confirmed that Fargo attorney Steven M. Light, whose body was found Wednesday evening inside a rest stop near Hillsboro, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Traill County Sheriff’s Department said.

Authorities recovered a handgun at the scene, the sheriff’s department stated in a news release this afternoon.

Dispatchers received a 911 call at 6:49 p.m. Wednesday for a medical emergency at the Elm River Rest Area on Interstate 29 between Hillsboro and Grandin.

According to a transcript of the 911 call, a rest stop employee called police to report that he had been pounding on the bathroom door for two hours with no answer before the door finally popped open. Inside, the worker found Light’s body with a gun in his hand, the transcript states.

Light, 42, was a prominent defense attorney who had offices in Fargo and Grand Forks. He is survived by his pregnant wife, their 2-year-old daughter and two stepchildren.

Fargo attorney Craig Richie, a longtime friend of Light’s who is acting as a spokesman for the family, said Thursday that caring about his clients and trying to do the right thing is what made Light a great lawyer.

“But with that, there’s so much stress and so much pressure, and that can eat you alive and make you depressed,” Richie said.

The autopsy was conducted by the state medical examiner in Bismarck. Light’s body has been released to a funeral home, the sheriff’s department said Friday.

Visitation will be Monday from 5 to 7, with a prayer service at 7, in Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home in Fargo. The funeral will be Tuesday at 11 in First Lutheran Church in Fargo.