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Press Release

Towaoc Man Sentenced to Over 10 Years in Federal Prison for Attempted Murder of a Police Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DURANGO – Wendell Mills, Jr., age 21, of Towaoc, Colorado, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to serve over 10 years (121 months) in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release for attempting to murder a federal police officer, announced U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips.  Mills appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded at its conclusion. 

Mills was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 13, 2018, on a charge of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree of a Federal Officer.  According to court documents, as well as facts presented during sentencing, on April 8, 2018, Mills tackled a Bureau of Affairs Police Officer who was attempting to effectuate an arrest in Towaoc, Colorado, on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation.  On the ground, Mills and another individual attempted to choke the officer while yelling “goodnight officer!”  During the struggle, Mills grabbed the officer’s holstered pistol, causing the gun to discharge into the officer’s leg.  As Mills took control of the weapon, the officer was able to release the gun’s magazine.  Mills pointed what he believed was a loaded gun at the officers head and pulled the trigger.  When the gun failed to discharge, Mills “racked” the slide, and again tried to fire it at the head of the officer.  A bystander intervened long enough for the officer to deploy his taser and subdue Mills.   

“The brave men and women serving as federal agents and officers routinely accept risk to themselves to protect us and our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “Violence against our law enforcement community will simply not be tolerated.”

“This sentence represents the FBI's commitment to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who seeks to assault or kill any of our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Graves.


Jeff Dorschner
Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax

Updated June 5, 2019

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: CASE NUMBER: 18-cr-00182