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Press Release

Shiprock Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Assault on a Federal Officer and Federal Firearms Offense

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

ALBUQUERQUE – 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 sentenced to 10 years in prison. Bidtah, 24, of Shiprock, and an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, pled guilty on Nov. 3, 2023, to 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.

According to publicly available court records, on Oct. 11, 2022, Bidtah approached a vehicle parked at his neighbor’s house in Shiprock and fired two rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the vehicle. The driver, Jane Doe, was struck and injured by the gunfire. Jane Doe was immediately transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington by her friend whom she was visiting. Jane Doe suffered a 1 cm ballistic fragment in her right buttocks/rear upper thigh area. Records also noted gunshot wounds on her left buttock, right buttock, and right thigh.

Navajo Nation police officers 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, reloaded the shotgun, and continued to walk towards the officers. In response, officers fired two rounds at Bidtah, striking him in the leg.

Upon his release from prison, Bidtah will be subject to 3 years of supervised release.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Nation Department of Investigation and Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew J. McGinley is prosecuting the case.

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Updated February 5, 2024

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-53