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Press Release

Navajo man pleads guilty to federal assault and firearm charges

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

ALBUQERQUE, N.M. – Michael Shebala, 37, of To'hajiilee, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pleaded guilty in federal court on April 5 to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Shebala is currently in custody awaiting sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

Shebala was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 25, 2021. According to the plea agreement, on Feb. 18, 2021, Shebala shot a victim, identified in court records as John Doe 1, in the chest outside a gas station on the Laguna Pueblo. Due to Shebala’s assault, John Doe 1 required emergency and extended medical care for the injuries sustained to his liver.

On March 5, 2021, Shebala shot a second victim, John Doe 2, in the leg and then assaulted him using a baseball bat. Due to the assault, the victim required emergency medical care for the gunshot wound and fractures sustained to his skull, femur and arm. The assault occurred on the Navajo Nation.

Shebala faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

The FBI Albuquerque Violent Crimes and Gangs Task Force investigated this case with assistance from the Laguna Police Department, Navajo Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fredrick T. Mendenhall is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 7, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 22-81