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Crownpoint man pleads guilty in police shootout

Steve Garrison
stgarrison@daily-times.com

FARMINGTON – A 35-year-old Crownpoint man accused of shooting at a Navajo Nation police officer earlier this year pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to assault and firearm charges, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Crime

Jarod Martin was arrested the night of March 2 on a criminal complaint alleging he fired a 9 millimeter gun at a tribal police officer during a high-speed chase west of Crownpoint.

The chase ended after Martin's vehicle became disabled on Navajo Route 11, also known as Rocky Canyon Road, according  to the complaint. He fled with the gun into a wooded area, according to the complaint, but was tracked into a ravine by the officer and a tribal police sergeant who arrived on the scene.

Martin allegedly pointed the gun at the officers, who opened fire, shooting Martin in the foot, the complaint states. Martin surrendered and was transported to Indian Health Services in Crownpoint for treatment, according to the complaint.

A .223 caliber rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition were found in Martin's vehicle, the complaint states.

Martin pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a federal officer with a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

Martin's defense attorney, James Loonam, declined to comment Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez said in a statement acts of aggression and violence against law enforcement officers will not be tolerated.

"The Justice Department is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to ensure that those who seek to harm officers who are on the job are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Martinez said.

Jesse Delmar, executive director of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, said in a statement he was grateful to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Navajo Nation law enforcement officers who sought justice for the victims in the case.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade said the FBI was proud to have investigated such an important case.

"Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect their communities," Wade said. "Any act of violence against these brave men and women deserves to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted."

Martin remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.