Law | National

Navajo Nation officials seek meeting in response to murders

Two Navajo men were killed in a lot near the intersection of 60th and Central NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image from Google Maps

Leaders of the Navajo Nation are expressing outrage at the murders of two of their members in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Allison Gorman, 44, and Kee Thompson, who was 45 or 46, were brutally attacked and killed in a lot on the city's west side. Three teens have been accused of bludgeoning the men so badly that the bodies were unrecognizable.

“It’s beyond senseless that these teens would attack homeless people in this manner,” President Ben Shelly said in a press release. “The Navajo Nation is appalled that this type of attack is happening upon our people. We pray that justice will be carried out in this case.”

Shelly wants to meet with officials in Albuquerque to discuss the case. He said the victims were innocent men who were murdered as they slept.

“The Navajo Nation needs an opportunity to meet with Albuquerque Mayor Berry about this attack," Shelly added. "We need to sit down and discuss possible solutions to assist the homeless population in Albuquerque."

Gorman was from Shiprock and Thompson was from Church Rock, The Albuquerque Journal reported. Both are Navajo communities in New Mexico.

"Obviously, there’s a lot of frustration and anger,” Duane “Chili” Yazzie, the president of the Shiprock Chapter, told the Journal. “One could readily conclude that this is evidence that racism is alive and well.”

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission plans to investigate the incident to determine whether there is a pattern of abuse in the state. Homeless tribal members have been attacked in other border towns in 2009 and 2012.

“We would expect the city of Albuquerque to take proactive measures to ensure justice is done, and initiatives be taken to try to prevent further occurrences,” Lauren Bernally, the commission's interim director, told the Journal.

Alez Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, face open charges of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. They are being held on $5 million bail each.

The teens also allegedly attacked a third Navajo man, Jerome Eskeets, who described himself as a brother of one of the victims. He said the teens -- two of whom lived next to the crime scene -- were known on the streets as violent.

"There's the [ones] that got caught," Skeets told KOB-TV. "But there's two more out there."

Skeets even said the one of the teens previously attacked his 62-year-old mother. "He's the one who hit my mom," he told KOB, referring to Carrillo, who lived nearby.

Another homeless man also told KOB that two other teens or boys participated in prior attacks. But police said the three were the ones responsible for the murders of Gorman and Thompson.

Get the Story:
Teenage attacker to homeless victims: ‘Eat mud’ (The Albuquerque Journal 7/23)
Some say attack on homeless is a hate crime (The Albuquerque Journal 7/23)
Homeless say attacks by three teens were frequent (KOB 7/22)
Homeless beating raises curfew questions (KRQE 7/22)

An Opinion:
Joline Gutierrez Krueger: Looking for answers about ultraviolence (The Albuquerque Journal 7/23)

Related Stories:
Bail set at $5M for teens accused of murdering Navajo men (7/22)
Teens accused of killing homeless Navajo men in New Mexico (7/21)

Join the Conversation