Man shot by FPD May 10 faces multiple charges, accused of assaulting police officer

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Brian Benally, 29, is accused of a third-degree felony count of aggravated assault on a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony count of felon in possession of a firearm and five petty misdemeanor counts of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the criminal complaint.
  • The defendant is listed in critical condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.
  • A review of New Mexico court records show Benally has multiple felony convictions including vehicle theft.

FARMINGTON — The man shot by Farmington police on May 10 faces multiple charges for allegedly pointing a handgun at an officer. He is also accused of firing 25 rounds from a .40 caliber pistol while walking in the downtown area before police located him.

Brian Benally, 29, is accused of a third-degree felony count of aggravated assault on a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and five petty misdemeanor counts of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.

The defendant is listed in critical condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque and his condition is improving, according to Farmington Police Department spokesperson Nicole Brown and court documents.

The charges were filed against Benally on the morning of May 17.

The court documents filed in the case describe a Farmington Police Department investigation into Benally’s alleged crimes.

The San Juan County Regional Officer Involved Shooting Task Force is investigating the shooting, with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office leading the investigation.

More:Man shot by Farmington police near Animas Street allegedly pointed handgun at officers

Emergency dispatchers received multiple calls around 2:23 p.m. on May 10, stating multiple gunshots were heard in the area of West Broadway Avenue and Schwartz Avenue.

Gunshots were reportedly heard on May 10 between 2:23 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. north of Child Care Castle at 630 W. Elm St., at a food truck at the intersection of West Main Street and West Broadway Avenue, near Farmington Heating and Metal at 703 W. Broadway Ave., and near the state office building at 101 W. Animas St.

Security video footage from a business helped provide clothing descriptions for Benally and a second man not identified in court documents.

It was a 4:15 p.m. call which led multiple officers to a place near the state office building at 101 W. Animas St. where Benally was found at a nearby bus stop.

Officers tried to speak to Benally, but court records state he started to walk away.

The defendant then allegedly pulled out a .40 caliber handgun and “aggressively pointed it” at one officer, according to court documents.

Benally was then shot at by four police officers, and rounds struck him multiple times. The affidavit did not state how many rounds struck Benally.

Court documents state Benally was bleeding heavily from injuries to his legs and torso. He was first transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center, then UNM hospital in Albuquerque.

During an investigation that took place from May 10 through May 12 officers found multiple locations where they say shots were fired. At those locations they collected a total of 25 spent shell casings from the firearm Benally allegedly fired.

More:Shiprock man sentenced to more than 7 years in prison for stabbing brother to death

Eight shell casings were found on May 10 near a business on the 700 block of W. Main St., and five more were found behind another business on the same block, according to court documents.

Nine shell casings were found on May 11 on the steps between the state office building and the Farmington Indian Center on W. Elm St.

Three spent shell casings were found in the area of the 200 block of North Orchard Avenue. A man who lived in that area provided law enforcement with video footage that prosecutors say shows Benally firing the handgun. 

A review of New Mexico court records show Benally has multiple felony convictions, including vehicle theft.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e