Two men accused in an assault of Bureau of Indian Affairs officer on Crow Indian Reservation admit charges

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

BILLINGS — Two men admitted to charges this week for their roles in an assault on a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer, who was pursuing one of the men for operating a stolen vehicle in Lodge Grass, on the Crow Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Earl Landon Old Chief, Jr., 36, pleaded guilty on Thursday, Sept. 15, to assault on a federal officer. Old Chief faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters.

Co-defendant Darnell Lee Not Afraid, 38, of Pryor, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Sept. 14, to possession of a firearm in furtherance of assault on a federal officer, a crime of violence. Not Afraid faces a mandatory minimum of five years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided and set sentencing for Jan. 26, 2023.

The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other sentencing factors. Old Chief and Not Afraid were detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that on March 14, 2021, BIA officers, while in the course of their official duties, were pursuing Not Afraid, who was driving a stolen truck at high speeds through residential neighborhoods in Lodge Grass. Not Afraid eventually stopped, got out of the truck and ran away. The officer pursued on foot into a residential yard and drew his Taser. As the officer neared Not Afraid, Not Afraid turned toward the officer, pulled up his shirt and grabbed a silver revolver from his waistband. The officer dropped his Taser, drew his service pistol and fired multiple times at Not Afraid, striking him at least once in the arm. An angry crowd of people, who had been watching the chase, accosted the officer, yelling and cursing at him. The crowd was angry at the officer for shooting Not Afraid and prevented the officer from attending to him.  Old Chief became agitated at the scene and threw a bottle at the officer, nearly striking him in the shoulder and head. Old Chief pointed the officer’s Taser at the officer’s face and then threw the Taser at him. Officers recovered the revolver and determined that it was loaded.

A third co-defendant, Darwyna Caylynn Catherine Bullshows, pleaded guilty to charges and is pending sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.

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