Man arrested in Texas for rape of 2 local nurses

WINDOW ROCK

What was supposed to be day of hiking with a friend instead ended with getting raped in a motel room, a nurse at Gallup Indian Medical Center told Gallup police.

The alleged victim met Dustin Shane Hopper, 31, a travelling nurse, through a friend during a Downtown Arts Crawl in Gallup, according to an affidavit for Hopper’s arrest warrant. The Gallup Police Department filed the warrant with the magistrate court in Gallup last Friday.

The alleged victim went to Sammy C’s with Hopper and her friend where they had dinner, the affidavit stated. After dinner, Hopper walked her back to her car. While walking with her, Hopper “put his hands on her hips.” The nurse felt “uncomfortable, considering she had just met him,” the affidavit continued.

The alleged victim offered Hopper a ride back to his vehicle. As he was exiting her car, Hopper turned to her and told her “When I see something I like, I’m going to pursue it,” she said.

Courtesy Gallup Police Department
Dustin Shane Hopper, 31, was arrested last night in Fort Worth, Texas. He is accused by the Gallup Police Department and the Apache County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly sexually assaulting two women in two separate incidents.

On Aug. 11, the alleged victim told detectives she had plans to hike with the friend who was with Hopper at the arts crawl. When her friend told the victim she could not make it, she suggested she hike with Hopper instead. The alleged victim called Hopper and went to pick him up at Microtel Inn in west Gallup, she told police.

Since it was raining, the nurse and Hopper decided to get breakfast at Cracker Barrel. The nurse told police that during their breakfast, Hopper “kept making comments that were sexual in nature,” which made her feel “uncomfortable.”

The woman did not eat her eggs and offered them to Hopper, to which he allegedly replied “I don’t want those eggs, I want your eggs.”

After breakfast, she took Hopper to her place of employment and showed him around the hospital. Afterward, she took him back to his hotel. Hopper invited her to his room, the affidavit stated. At this point, Hopper allegedly told the woman he was “a sniper” when he was in the military. She noticed a rifle case in his room. She told detectives Hopper had a pistol on his hip, which he took off and placed  on a night stand.

The alleged victim stated she was sitting on the bed when Hopper began making sexual advances. When she began resisting, Hopper restrained her with his arms and sexually assaulted her, the affidavit reads.

The alleged victim told police she was in shock and tried to pull away while Hopper was assaulting her. She continued to tell Hopper to stop, but Hopper continued restraining her, she said.

“She was scared because of his stature and what he said of his past. She was in fear of her safety,” the arrest warrant states.

After raping her, the alleged victim told police, Hopper said to her, “Does it turn you on trying to get away from me?”

Afterward, she said Hopper sent her text messages telling her he missed her.

According to the affidavit, Hopper is also being investigated for another sexual assault alleged to have occurred at the Tsehootsoi Medical Center in Fort Defiance on Aug. 21.

Police wrote that while investigating the Gallup rape, they contacted Reba Begay, a nurse executive in the emergency department at TMC. Begay asked them “if it was involving a sexual misconduct incident that occurred at the hospital.” Police told Begay they were not aware of it and were investigating the Aug. 11 incident. Begay reportedly told police “Dustin Hopper may have other rape allegations against him.”

Begay told detectives Hopper’s traveling nurse contract was terminated “due to the current in-house investigations of unwanted sexual advances,” as well as for “another sexual assault case that Apache County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating.”

Cdr. Roscoe Herrera with the Apache County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Wednesday there is an ongoing investigation against Hopper for a rape that allegedly happened at the hospital on Aug. 21.

Herrera said Hopper is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a nurse employed at the TMC. He added Hopper was allegedly brandishing a handgun during the assault.

Herrera said the victim worked with Hopper at the hospital, but did not know him and had only met him days before he began working at TMC.

Hopper fled the area on Aug. 22, the Gallup Police affidavit stated. He was apprehended in Fort Worth, Texas after a two-hour standoff with the Fort Worth Police Department.

Capt. Erin Toadlena-Pablo, a spokesperson with the Gallup Police Department, said McKinley County District Attorney Paula Pakkala was working on extraditing Hopper back to Gallup to face the local allegations.

Toadlena-Pablo said Hopper is facing two counts of criminal sexual penetration in the third degree, and one count criminal sexual assault with a deadly weapon. Herrera added Hopper is also facing one count of sexual assault, one count of kidnapping and one count of violent sexual assault in Apache County, Arizona.