Officer Down

Alex Yazzie funeral Friday in Farmington

Sgt. Terry John, a 25-year veteran with the Navajo police, becomes emotional while speaking of fallen brethren officer Alex Yazzie during a gathering at the Crownpoint Chapter in Crownpoint, N.M. on Friday night. "Want you to know, the family members, that you need not mourn all alone. Police officers mourn with you. Not just police officers here, but police officers nationwide," John said. "We all mourn with you. On behalf of the Navajo Nation Law Enforcement, our hearts go out to you." (Times photo - Donovan Quintero)

Sgt. Terry John, a 25-year veteran with the Navajo police, becomes emotional while speaking of fallen brethren officer Alex Yazzie during a gathering at the Crownpoint Chapter in Crownpoint, N.M. on Friday night. “Want you to know, the family members, that you need not mourn all alone. Police officers mourn with you. Not just police officers here, but police officers nationwide,” John said. “We all mourn with you. On behalf of the Navajo Nation Law Enforcement, our hearts go out to you.” (Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

By Alastair Lee Bitsoi and Cindy Yurth
Navajo Times

COVE/RED VALLEY, Ariz.

Five blinking police lights left the base of the Chuska Mountains March 20, in an informal procession for fallen Navajo Nation Police Officer Alex Yazzie, 42.

Family photo of Navajo Nation Police Officer Alex Yazzie. (Courtesy of the family.)

Family photo of Navajo Nation Police Officer Alex Yazzie. (Courtesy of the family.)

At about 12:50 p.m. last Friday, Navajo Nation Police and Apache County Sheriff Deputies left the crime scene where Yazzie was shot and killed by gunman Justin Fowler, 26, of Little Water, N.M. on March 19.

The procession and the ongoing investigation of the shoot-out, which included a high-speed chase involving more than 20 police vehicles, had closed Buffalo Pass for much of last Friday.

On Tuesday, Navajo Nation Police Department officials announced via a memorandum that Yazzie’s funeral is this Friday at the Pinion Hills Community Church, 5101 North Dustin Ave., in Farmington, N.M. The funeral will begin at 10 a.m., with the rest of the events falling-in thereafter.

According to a March 24 joint memo from Ivan Tsosie, police captain for the Navajo Police Department, and John H. Billison, executive director for the Navajo Division of Public Safety, to all Navajo Police Department, Yazzie’s burial services will occur at the Memory Garden Cemetery and the reception at the National Guard Army.

Both the cemetery and reception locations are also in Farmington. Memory Garden Cemetery is at 6917 East Main, while the National Guard Army is at 1101 West Navajo Street.

In this August 2014, fallen Navajo police officer Alex Yazzie, left, is seen here training with fellow comrades in Mentmore, N.M. Yazzie, a Marine Corps veteran, was shot and killed in the line of duty on the night of March 19 in Cove-Red Valley, Ariz. (File photo - Donovan Quintero)

In this August 2014, fallen Navajo police officer Alex Yazzie, left, is seen here training with fellow comrades in Mentmore, N.M. Yazzie, a Marine Corps veteran, was shot and killed in the line of duty on the night of March 19 in Cove-Red Valley, Ariz. (File photo – Donovan Quintero)

“Shiprock Police District continues to mourn the loss of one our finest,” said Tsosie. In addition to Yazzie being fatally shot, senior police officers James Hale, 48, and Herbert Frazier, 41, were injured by the suspect’s fire. Fowler had also been killed in the gun battle.

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“Although, we may hear negativity from people who were not there, we will continue to be vigiliant in providing police services to the people – who are our only care,” Tsosie said.

He added that those people with negative thoughts are only bringing their personal issues to the light at this time because they see an opportunity.
“So, I humbly ask that you join us as we help lay Senior Police Officer Alex Yazzie to rest,” Tsosie said. “He was very proud to be a Navajo Police Officer and a United States Marine.”


 To read the full article, pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand Thursday mornings!

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