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Police Blotter: Hopi officer shot during traffic stop

CHINLE

A Hopi law enforcement officer was shot Wednesday while trying to conduct a traffic stop, Hopi police said Thursday.

According to a press release, two officers were attempting to pull over a vehicle at First Mesa when shots were fired at their police car.

One officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at a local hospital and released. The other officer was not injured.

The Hopi officers called for reinforcements and were assisted by the FBI, Navajo Nation Police and Criminal Investigations, Winslow Police and a helicopter from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

First Mesa Security and Hopi Junior/Senior High School Security also assisted.

Two suspects were apprehended shortly after the incident, but a third was not located until 8:31 p.m., two miles away in a residential area, according to the release.

Neither the suspects nor the officers were named in the report, and Hopi Law Enforcement Services did not return a phone call asking for more information.

Per protocol for officer-involved shootings, both officers have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

The FBI is investigating the shooting.

Piñon man pleads guilty, sentenced for stabbing

LOS ANGELES

A Piñon, Arizona, man was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to stabbing a 71-year-old Shiprock man in the neck after he had given him a ride. Travis Clitso, 25, pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon.

The victim, identified only as S.D. in court records, said he was driving near the Ute Mountain Ute casino in Towoac, Colorado, on Feb. 6, 2019, when he noticed Clitso walking on the side of the road. He said he often gives rides to people. It was cold out and getting dark so he decided to offer the man a ride.

Clitso didn’t say much as they headed for the reservation line. S.D., who was returning home, decided to stop at the Giant Station in Shiprock so that Clitso, who was headed back home to Piñon, would have an easier time getting a ride. After explaining to Clitso why he had stopped at the station, he waited for Clitso to get out but he just sat there.

He finally began moving, he said, but instead of reaching for the door handle, he “made a quick sudden movement” and S.D. said he saw a knife in his hand. When he was stabbed in the neck, S.D. said he saw blood spurting from his neck. He put his hand up to his neck to try to stop the bleeding. He said he fought his way out of the car to get help and noticed that Clitso had also gotten out and was leaving the area on foot. S.D. said he asked the station’s clerk for help.

He was first taken to the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock and from there was transported to the trauma center at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. He was kept at the hospital for several days receiving treatment. When he was interviewed by FBI agents at his home in Shiprock a week or so after the incident, the agents said he had severe bruising and swelling to his neck as well as a significant cut in the center of his throat. When Navajo Police searched his car the night of the attack, they found the knife used in the attack.

They also found and arrested Clitso a short time later. Clitso was interviewed by FBI agents and Navajo criminal investigators the day after the incident. During the interview, court records said he confessed to the stabbing.

He said he had no reason to stab S.D. He said he had hitchhiked to Cortez and was trying to get back to his home in Piñon when he accepted the ride from S.D. When he was told he was being let out at the gas station, he said he felt exhausted and didn’t want to leave the car to try to get another ride in the cold weather. He said he pulled out his knife and stabbed him “out of frustration.” He added that the driver did nothing to provoke him before the attack. He said he just became depressed and now that he has been arrested he regretted stabbing him.


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