Man accused of assault, tried to hurt man and woman with machete and hatchet

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A San Juan County man faces federal charges for allegedly using a machete and a hatchet in an attempt to harm a man and a woman on the Navajo Nation.

Brandon Barber, 36, is charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in Indian Country, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Barber made his initial appearance on May 25 in Albuquerque federal court.

He remains in custody and waived his preliminary and detention hearings scheduled on May 27, according to court documents.

The criminal complaint states that on the morning of May 9, Barber arrived at the man's house in Lower Fruitland.

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The man told authorities he was inside his Chevrolet Tahoe cleaning glass from the passenger side window that Barber allegedly broke on May 8.

He said Barber approached him with a hatchet and a machete and tried to attack him through the broken window.

The man said he attempted to leave by driving his Tahoe but was chased by Barber, who drove his truck into the front part of the Tahoe, causing the airbag to deploy into the man's face. The man said he then tried to leave on foot but injured his ankle while jumping over a barbed wire fence, and ended up hiding in a nearby ditch until Barber left.

The second incident involved Barber and an alleged accomplice.

They are accused of throwing a rock through the windshield of a Jeep Patriot on the afternoon of May 9 in Nenahnezad.

Barber allegedly used the hatchet and machete to strike the Jeep while the accomplice tried to pull the woman from the vehicle, according to the news release.

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The news release stated that the two got inside the Jeep and, when Barber drove away, he maneuvered the vehicle toward the woman, but she moved out of the vehicle's path.

Navajo police officers eventually located the Jeep in Hogback, where authorities allege Barber fled the area, but the accomplice was found nearby and was arrested.

The complaint does not state when Barber was arrested but states that he was identified in a photo array presented to the woman on May 13.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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