Man shot during tussle over gun

April 18, 2013

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W INDOW ROCK - Navajo police are investigating a shooting that occurred near Chinle on April 7.

It began with a call from Johnson Albert, 58, of Chinle calling police reporting that he had been hit over the head with a gun.

When police got to the home of Amos Thomas, they found Philbert Vanwinkle, 33, of Chinle. Vanwinkle had a gunshot wound to his mouth.

Vanwinkle told police that Albert had shot him and had then gone away. Vanwinkle was transported to the Chinle Hospital in stable condition.

A little later police received another call from Adel Mike who said she had another victim of the incident - Albert - at her home. When police got there, they found Albert with a laceration to the top of his head.

Albert told police that Vanwinkle had hit him with a gun. He was also transported to the Chinle Hospital.

An investigation soon unraveled what had happened.

Jamie Albert told police that Vanwinkle had come to the house of Alice Pahe and started a fight with him. At that point, John Hunter tried to pull Vanwinkle off but then Vanwinkle began fighting with Hunter.

Johnson Albert then arrived on the scene, according to witnesses, and pulled Vanwinkle off of Hunter at which point Vanwinkle reportedly starting attacking Johnson Albert.

When the fight ended, Albert left the residence and went home, coming back later, according to police, carrying a .22 caliber rifle which he aimed at Vanwinkle.

Witnesses said Vanwinkle lunged at Johnson Albert, grabbing the rifle, which went off, shooting Vanwinkle in the mouth. The bullet exited near his left ear. Johnson Albert was arrested for aggravated battery on a family member.

Two arrested for burglarizing tribal building

Two men, both from Fort Defiance, were arrested in connection with a break-in at the Navajo Nation Education building on March 1.

Police reported at the time that the break-in resulted in property damage and stolen property valued at between $15,000 and $20,000.

There were no suspects at the time but police did have a video surveillance tape which showed the two men as being responsible. Eventually they arrested two men - Antonio Mandan, 22, and Jerriel Butler, 22.

Police said when they went to one of their residences, they found a pickup truck with the property stolen from the education building inside.

Stabbing reported in Sanders area

Tribal police are investigating a stabbing that occurred in Sanders on March 15.

Linda Hubbard, 57, of Sanders reported to police that she and her boyfriend, Howard Murphy, 55 of Pine Springs, Ariz., were drinking when they got into an argument.

Hubbard's nephew, Eric Ashley, 24, attempted to intervene but she said Murphy pulled a knife on Ashley. Hubbard said she tried to take the knife away from Murphy but got a cut on her hand.

She ran out of the house and reported that Ashley and Murphy were still fighting inside. At that point Hubbard's son called police and when police arrived, they found Murphy with two stab wounds in the stomach area. Both Hubbard and Murphy were taken to the Gallup Indian Medical Center.

When police got to the hospital, they said they tried to interview Murphy but he was uncooperative. Ashley was arrested for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct.

Two died in rollover in St. Michaels

Police reported the death of two people in an accident on State Road 264 about 5:38 a.m. on March 31. The victims were identified as Erwin Shorty, 27, of Greasewood Springs, Ariz., and Alan Jacob Hildreth, 30, of Oak Springs, Ariz. Both died at the scene.

A police investigation indicated that Shorty, who was the driver, may have fallen asleep at the wheel and went off the road and hit a guardrail.

Hildreth was ejected from the vehicle but Shorty was found still seated in the driver's seat.

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