Robbery attempt turns into murder


It started out as a robbery, Tristan Cadman later said to FBI agents, but it ended up with one man dead and two men facing multiple federal charges that could keep them in prison for decades to come. Cadman, 19, and his partner, a juvenile whose name has not been released, have been charged with the unlawful killing of a man with malice aforethought, committing a crime in Indian Country and abetting and discharging a firearm in a murder.

Federal court records do not identify the victim but the Albuquerque Journal identified him as Angel Gonzales, 32, a resident of Albuquerque. Court records outline a story of a robbery gone bad and good police work that ended up in arrests within 24 hours. Gonzales and a lady friend, 34, were in a parked van about 4 a.m. near To’hajiilee, having drinks when they saw the headlights of a car coming towards them, according to the friend, who is identified only as A.B. in court records.

The car at first drove past them and then turned and came back. Two men got out of the van and walked toward them, she said. When they got to their car, they wore T-shirts over their heads so they could not be identified. They demanded cash and alcohol, she said. Gonzales then got into a physical confrontation with the older suspect and was winning when the man yelled, “Daniel, Daniel, come help me!” the woman recalled. The other suspect then pulled out a pistol and fired two shots in the air. He then threw Gonzales to the ground, she said, and shot him. The two men then drove away.

She said she went to Gonzales but he was only making “gurgling noises.” When she talked to law enforcement officers, she told them that although they had their faces covered, she saw the eyes of the younger suspect and recognized him as someone she had known for a long time. She said he was as resident of To’hajiilee.

Since he was a minor, he is only referred to as D.G. in court records, although one court record refers to him as Daniel Gutierrez. She identified the suspect who was also known to members of the Navajo Police Department who had responded to the emergency call. They said he had a criminal record and they had arrested him previously on firearm related charges. By this time, it was early morning and FBI agents had been called to the scene.

Deciding to track the suspect through his mobile phone, FBI agents called his cell phone carrier and asked for the location of his phone. The answer was that the latest signal put him in the vicinity of West Mesa High School in Albuquerque. By this time, Navajo Police had gone to his home and talked to his father, who told them he was a student at the high school. FBI officials went to the school and asked to talk to D.G. who agreed to talk to them.

He said he and his friend were driving on the back roads near their homes when they came upon the van and a fight ensued. He also admitted that he had rifles hidden under his bed at home. He gave the name of the other man as Tristan. It didn’t take FBI agents long to figure out his last name and arrest him. Cadman then agreed to talk to FBI agents and tell them what happened. He said when they saw the van that morning they decided to rob the occupants.

Cadman said he had a .22 caliber pistol and D.G. had a rifle. He said during the robbery, he was hit in the fight with Gonzales and lost control of his pistol. This is when he called D.G. for help. According to Cadman, D.G. picked up the pistol and fired and missed. He then picked up the rifle. He allegedly fired at Gonzales and hit him. The two then got back in their car and fled.

About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.


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