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Shots fired during Ceremonial prompts lockdown

Shots fired during Ceremonial prompts lockdown


The 101st Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial was sullied for the second year as Red Rock Park was put on lockdown, and attendees were ordered to shelter in place.

At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, this writer was going through the exhibit hall and viewing the fine arts on display when a flood of people began filling the hall. Ceremonial organizers were speaking loudly, instructing other employees to lock the doors.

The crowd was told to stay inside the building and that nobody was allowed outside. Soon after, several police units swarmed the park with sirens and lights flashing. Ceremonial volunteers in golf carts and all-terrain vehicles directed police south of the powwow grounds, where thick vegetation and bushes were present.

People in the parking lot were instructed to stay in their vehicles and to shelter in place because no one was allowed to leave the park.

Around 7:45 p.m., this writer sheltered in his vehicle and watched the scene unfold. Several more police arrived from the Gallup Police Department, McKinley County Sheriff’s Office, and Navajo Police Department.

Two women parked next to this writer rolled down the window of their vehicle and reported that they heard the gunfire. They said at least 20 rounds, or more, were fired in quick succession, but they didn’t believe it was from automatic gunfire. They didn’t want to be identified.

Navajo Times | Rick Abasta
Gallup Police swarmed Red Rock Park’s southern end near the powwow arena around 7:45 p.m. Friday when multiple gunshots were reported. Two women from Texas visited Gallup for the 101st Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. They reported hearing 20 gunshots or more. The pair were sheltering in their vehicle at the main parking lot.

Officers could be seen walking the parameter south of the park near the thick brush. Vehicles began leaving the park, and this writer took the opportunity to leave. Gallup Police were stationed at the park entrance, blocking traffic and directing traffic, leaving the park to travel south to U.S. Route 66.

Several police lights were visible from the highway as a long train of vehicles was traveling east on U.S. Route 66 toward Red Rock Park, likely oblivious to the gunfire.

At 8:47 p.m., the Gallup Police Department reported that the police were on the scene at Red Rock Park after reports of gunshots.

Navajo Police and McKinley County Sheriff’s Office detained two suspects at a nearby residence. No injuries were reported, and the public is advised to avoid the area because of heavy police presence.

The Navajo Police is investigating the two individuals that may have discharged a firearm over one-fourth mile west of the park on tribal land. Based on the evidence on the scene, those individuals were target shooting on their property. Law enforcement officials are investigating if that activity was lawful.

About The Author

Rick Abasta

Rick Abasta is a Navajo writer residing in Gallup, New Mexico. He was born in Ft. Defiance and raised in Window Rock and St. Michaels, Ariz.


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