Navajo man appears in court, charged with assault with a dangerous weapon

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Brandon Barber, 36, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, made an initial appearance in federal court on May 25 facing two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. Barber will remain in custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for May 27.

According to a criminal complaint, on the morning May 9, Barber arrived at the residence of a victim, identified in court records as John Doe, in Lower Fruitland, New Mexico. John Doe was in his vehicle cleaning glass from a passenger side window that Barber allegedly broke the previous day. Barber allegedly approached John Doe with a hatchet and a machete and attempted to attack John Doe through the broken window.

John Doe attempted to flee in his vehicle, but Barber reentered his vehicle and pursued John Doe. Barber allegedly rammed John Doe’s vehicle, causing the driver-side airbag to deploy into John Doe’s face. As John Doe attempted to leave the property he came to a locked gate, leading him to get out of his vehicle and flee on foot. John Doe tried to jump a barbed-wire fence, but his leg was caught, causing him to injure his ankle. John Doe had to hide in a nearby ditch until Barber left the property.

Later that afternoon, near Nenahnezad, New Mexico, Barber and an accomplice allegedly threw a rock through the windshield of a vehicle driven by a second victim, identified as Jane Doe. The glass from the windshield shattered in Jane Doe’s face. Barber allegedly began attacking the vehicle with the hatchet and machete as the accomplice tried to pull Jane Doe from the vehicle by her hair. Barber allegedly placed the sharp edge of the machete against the back of Jane Doe’s head as she was pulled from the vehicle. Barber allegedly attempted to strike Jane Doe with the hatchet, but Jane Doe was able to roll out of the way.

Barber and the accomplice entered the vehicle and drove a short distance away. Barber then steered the vehicle toward Jane Doe, who had to dive out of the path of the vehicle, which nearly struck her.

Both alleged offenses occurred on the Navajo Nation.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Barber faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Nation Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Mark C. Pfizenmayer is prosecuting the case.

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