FARMINGTON — A man who held four children hostage during an hours-long standoff with law enforcement on Sunday night was charged with three felonies on Wednesday.

Harold Pete, 29, was arrested at about 4 a.m. Monday after he surrendered to police outside a residence in Ojo Amarillo, a Navajo reservation town south of Kirtland, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said in news release.

Witnesses told investigators Pete fired a shotgun into a locked door several times to force his way into a residence late Sunday night. Two women escaped but four children were left inside with Pete, according to a criminal complaint against Pete filed in federal court Wednesday.

The two women were injured while they tried to take the gun from Pete. One woman was taken to the hospital with head injuries and the other suffered injuries to her hand and face, the complaint said.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office and Farmington police's SWAT teams surrounded the house.

A Navajo police investigator and an FBI agent negotiated with Pete for hours. He released the children one by one until he finally surrendered early Monday morning.

Pete had entered the home because he was angry at the woman who lived there. Pete and the woman, who was not identified in court documents, had several children together. The couple's children and a next door neighbor were the hostages, said Lt. Shane Ferrari, the commander of the San Juan County SWAT team.


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The children were a 2-year-old girl, two 8-year-old boys and a 12-year-old boy, according to court documents.

"Everything escalates when children are involved," Ferrari said.

It was the 15th time in 2012 the sheriff's office SWAT team was called to an emergency.

Pete never fired shots at law enforcement during the standoff. But while negotiators spoke with him on his cellphone he said he wanted to get into a shootout with police.

Officers saw him use his shotgun to break windows.

Ferrari praised the Navajo and FBI negotiators who worked with Pete to bring the situation to a peaceful end.

They worked to keep the children safe and Pete calm, even finding a way to get him cigarettes as negotiations went deep into the night, he said.

"I think they built a rapport with the individual," he said. "Over time they got him to come around and realize what his actions were."

Pete was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, use of a firearm to commit a violent crime and aggravated burglary.