Shiprock man charged with assault with a dangerous weapon

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced that Deon Joe Bidtah was arraigned on Nov. 10 on a three-count indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and assault on a federal officer with a deadly and dangerous weapon. Bidtah, 23, of Shiprock, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, will remain in custody pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury indicted Bidtah on Nov. 9. According to the indictment and other court records, on Oct. 11, Bidtah approached a vehicle near his residence and fired two rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the vehicle. A victim, identified as Jane Doe, was struck and injured by the gunfire. Three of Jane Doe’s family members were in the vehicle at the time. All four occupants of the vehicle are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation. Jane Doe was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Navajo Police responded to the incident location, including one officer who, by virtue of a special law enforcement commission, is considered a federal officer. Bidtah approached the officers carrying the 12-gauge shotgun and fired toward the officers. Officers took cover behind their patrol units and commanded Bidtah to stop and drop his weapon. Bidtah ignored the commands, and officers fired two rounds at Bidtah. Bidtah was struck, and was later transported to Northern Navajo Medical Center for treatment.

Both incidents occurred on the Navajo Nation.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Bidtah faces up to 10 years in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon, up to 20 years in prison for assault on a federal officer with a deadly and dangerous weapon, and a consecutive mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

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

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