A procession of police officers from various police agencies escort fallen brethren, Navajo Police Officer Alex Yazzie, on Navajo Route 13 in Cove Red Valley, Ariz., on Friday afternoon. (Navajo Times photo – Donovan Quintero)
RED VALLEY, ARIZONA—Tragedy struck the Navajo Nation on Thursday as domestic dispute turned deadly that left a Navajo Police Officer Alex Yazzie and his assailant, Justin Fowler, 24, dead Thursday night.
Two other Navajo police officers were wounded in the attack on remote highway Navajo Route 13. Navajo Police Officer Herbert Fraizer was shot in the shin; Officer James Hale was shot in the right leg.
The tragedy began about six hours prior to the fatal shootings, when Jordon Fowler called the Shiprock police district and reported his brother, Justin Fowler, who was beating his wife, Rayana Ramone, with a pistol. Suspect Fowler was also beating his mother Cecelia Begay with a pistol. The police communications operator heard shots fired while on the phone with Jordon Fowler.
Navajo police officer Anderson Dez responded after the suspect left the scene. Upon arrival, 200 yards south of Littlewater store, reporting party Jordon Fowler pointed to Officer Dez in the direction of U.S. Highway 491 where the suspect was parked. Officer Dez saw the suspect at his vehicle. The suspect then discharges his weapon, an AR-15 semi automatic rifle at Officer Dez, who took cover at his police vehicle causing damage, but Officer Dez was unharmed. The suspect fled in his vehicle.
At 8:20pm, the suspect returns to Littlewater to the location of the mobile police command center making a u-turn in an apparent taunt fleeing the scene with Navajo Police Lieutenant Phillip Joe in pursuit with several police officers.
On Navajo Route 13, five miles south of Red Valley trading post, the Fowler discharged his weapon toward approaching police vehicles, disabling the police vehicle operated by Lieutenant Joe. The suspect entered his vehicle, fled scene two toward Lukachukai, Arizona.
At approximately 11 miles south of Red Valley trading post, responding officers came upon the suspect vehicle, parked along roadway, scene three, when the suspect discharged his weapon at officers. The officers devised and executed a plan, engaged the suspect vehicle, as the suspect discharged his weapon from behind. The suspect was subsequently shot and killed by police.
Four police vehicles were damaged, two of them are non-operational in pursuit of the assailant.
In all, more than 30 Navajo police officers responded from the first reported time at 2:15pm from five police districts, Shiprock, Crownpoint, Window Rock, Chinle, and Kayenta. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting the investigation with the Navajo Department of Criminal Investigation.
While the Navajo Nation released information about the deadly assault, little information was released about Navajo Police Officer Alex Yazzie.