ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Rodgerick Tsosie, of Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, made an initial appearance in federal court today facing a charge of second-degree murder in Indian Country. Tsosie will remain in custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for May 25.
According to a criminal complaint, on May 16, Tsosie was called to intervene in a dispute involving his brother at their mother’s home in Torreon, New Mexico. However, the brother, his girlfriend and three children left the home before Tsosie arrived.
Tsosie allegedly encountered the vehicle in which his brother was traveling eastbound on New Mexico State Road 197 near the Torreon Store in Cuba, New Mexico. Tsosie drove alongside it, travelling east in the westbound lane. Tsosie allegedly fired two shots into the vehicle, one of which struck a 14-year-old victim in the head.
The victim was transported by ambulance and then by a medivac helicopter to St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the victim was pronounced dead.
A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Tsosie faces up to life in prison.
The FBI’s Albuquerque Violent Crime Task Force investigated this case with assistance from the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office and the Navajo Nation Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Alexander F. Flores is prosecuting the case.
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