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Press Release

Church Rock Man Arrested for Firearms Offenses in Indian Country

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

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 today that Elijah I. Touchine, 23, of Church Rock, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, made an initial appearance in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

According to the criminal complaint, early in the morning on July 22, the Navajo Police Department (NPD) received a report that a man identified as Touchine was walking around the area near his residence shooting a gun and threatening to hurt someone. Officers from the NPD and New Mexico State Police responded to the area and came under fire from an unknown direction and an unknown assailant and took tactical action to protect themselves and each other from the incoming fire.

Officers pursued the shooter on foot up into a canyon, but due to the dark conditions, they were unable to identify where the shooter was firing from. After about twelve hours, officers discontinued the search for the shooter.

The following day, July 22, the FBI received information about Touchine’s whereabouts and located him at a local gun store in Gallup, NM with the assistance of the Gallup Police Department. Touchine was taken into custody without incident and it was determined that he had forced, through threats of violence, his grandmother to purchase a gun for him. When asked why he was purchasing a gun, Touchine replied “I don’t know, shoot up any cop I see.”

A black handgun was located in the vehicle Touchine arrived at the location in.

An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Touchine faces a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.

This case was investigated by the Gallup Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau Investigation with assistance from the Navajo Police Department, New Mexico State Police and Gallup Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Marshall is prosecuting the case.

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Updated July 25, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-159