Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Slain Sgt. Darrell C. Curley
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA - A father and his two sons have been arrested in connection of the death of the Navajo Nation Police Sergeant Darrell Curley, who was slain in the line of duty this past weekend on the Navajo Nation.
Victor Bigman, 48, of Kaibito, Arizona, was charged on Tuesday by criminal complaint with the First Degree Murder in the death of Sgt. Curley.
At about 10:02 pm mdt on Saturday night, June 25, 2011, Navajo Nation police responded to a call at a residence in Kaibito, where two brothers were reportedly fighting.
According to an affidavit submitted to the US Magistrate Court in Flagstaff, "Gloria Bigman twice called Navajo Nation dispatch in Tuba City, Arizona, because her two sons were fighting."
Sergeant Darrell Curley and another officer, Vernon Begay, arrived to find the two brothers, Tyson and Johnson, who appeared to have been drinking.
According to the affidavit, one of the brothers, Johnson appeared to be passed out in the family's yard. Officer Begay handcuffed him. The other brother, Tyson Bigman, resisted arrest and was sprayed with mace by Sgt. Curley.
As Sgt. Curley took one of the brothers, Tyson Bigman, to his patrol vehicle, the complaint alleges that his father, Victor Bigman, fired four shots striking and killing Sgt. Curley. Sgt. Curley was able to return fire and Victor Bigman is currently hospitalized in critical condition.
A conviction for First Degree Murder carries a maximum penalty of death or life in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
In separate court actions in the Navajo Court, the two brothers were charged with disorderly conduct, homicide, accomplice to aggravated assault and criminal nuisance. Both pleaded innocent to the charges on Monday.
The investigation in this case was conducted by Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The charges were brought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with the Navajo Public Safety Department and the Navajo Police Department. When there are major crimes in Indian Country, the FBI becomes involved with tribal law enforcement departments.
"Under the direction of Col. Billison, this investigation has brought together all of our police districts and law enforcement agencies who took charge to bring justice to this case. I am proud to know that within a short time span, all of our Navajo Nation officers and dispatchers were mobilized and prepared to help the Tuba City District, surrounding communities and the FBI," said Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly in a statement issued from Washington, DC where he is traveling on business.
The prosecution of Victor Bigman is being handled by Camille Bibles and Roger Dokken, Assistant US Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
posted June 30, 2011 6:15 am et
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