Suspect faces 3 counts of aggravated assault

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FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man is accused of threatening officers with a hammer behind a Farmington home improvement store along with striking the hood of a patrol vehicle with the hammer.

Matthew Begay, 37, faces six charges, including three fourth-degree felony counts of aggravated assault and a fourth-degree felony count of criminal damage to property, according to court records.

He is accused of charging toward officers for the Farmington Police Department with a hammer, then damaging the hood of a patrol vehicle with the hammer, along with causing about $2,000 worth of damage to a Home Depot bathroom, according to the criminal complaint.

Stephen Wayne, Begay's public defender, did not respond to requests for comment.

Officers were dispatched around 7:33 p.m. on Feb. 21 to the Home Depot location at 3560 E. Main St. on reports of a Native American male making threats to employees in the store while carrying a hammer, the complaint states.

The man later identified as Begay was found behind the store.

As officers arrived on the scene, Begay is accused of lifting the hammer over his head with both hands and running toward a patrol vehicle before striking the hood of the vehicle with the hammer.

The hammer got stuck in the hood of the vehicle, and Begay attempted to pull the hammer out, according to court documents.

The complaint states two officers fired their stun gun at Begay to stop him from removing the hammer from the hood of the vehicle. After the second stun gun was fired at Begay, he was taken into custody and cleared by medics at the scene.

Officers were afraid Begay would remove the hammer and attack them, according to the complaint.

An employee at Home Depot told police that before Begay left the store, he caused about $2,000 worth of damage to the sinks in a men's bathroom with the hammer.

A hearing to hold Begay without bond pending trial set for Monday afternoon was continued, according to San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien.

Begay's preliminary hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Farmington Magistrate Court.

He was incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center this morning on a no-bond hold.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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