Man stabbed at Assayii Lake seeks help finding perpetrator

WINDOW ROCK

An Albuquerque Diné man needs help identifying the man who stabbed him and his brother at Assayii Lake on Easter weekend.

Lambert Benally was fishing with his brother, Walt Silversmith, and his three children at Assayii Lake on Saturday, April 15, when things took an unexpected turn.

He had come out from Albuquerque to spend time with his relatives in Red Lake, N.M., and teach his kids how to fish on Easter weekend.

He recalls his two-year-old son accidentally picking up the wrong fishing pole from a nearby fisherman identified as 5 feet 10 inches, wearing a white camouflage jacket, dark sunglasses and a hoodie.

“He seemed angry. He just stared at us for awhile,” said Benally.

Brushing it off, Benally and his family continued to fish and enjoy their afternoon until the man in white camouflage began “running his mouth” and threatened Benally.

“He got pissed, he jumped up the embankment, which is around 25 feet,” Benally recalls. “I got into a defensive position.”

Fearing for his kids, Benally told the man to leave him alone and that he was going to defend himself. That’s when the man attacked Benally, who wrestled the man down until he noticed something was wrong.

“I just felt my side get cold all of a sudden,” said Benally.

The man had stabbed Benally with a fish fillet knife. He yelled out to nearby families also on the lake for the holiday weekend.

As Silversmith tried to intervene to stop the fight, he, too, was stabbed in his front near his intestines. (Silversmith was released from the University of New Mexico Hospital on Wednesday, April 26.)

Benally loaded his brother and children into his truck and drove fast to Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance.

Benally said they knew if they had waited for an ambulance to get to Assayii Lake it would have been too late.

“We would have been dead,” said Benally.

Benally said the man in white camouflage was with two kids, a teenager and a child of about 7 years old, both dressed in black clothing.

Although Benally has filed a police report with the Navajo Nation Police Department, he said he feels nothing has been done. He has been trying to turn his case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but a Navajo police report on the incident hasn’t been filed yet.

On Thursday, the Navajo Times left a message with the headquarters of the Navajo Nation Police in Window Rock but had not yet received a response.

Anyone with information regarding the incident or the identity of the man wearing white camouflage should call the Navajo Nation Police at 928-871-6116.

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