Navajo Nation president calls for FBI probe of brutal murders

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. Photo by Rick Abasta/Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly is calling on the FBI to investigate the brutal murders of two tribal members on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Shelly traveled to Albuquerque on Thursday to meet with Mayor Richard J. Berry. They are going to work together to address homelessness of Navajos and other Native Americans in the state's biggest city.

“We talked about how we can prevent this from happening again by working together, and the mayor and I agreed to create a task force,” Shelly told The Albuquerque Journal.

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

Three teens are being held for killing Allison Gorman, 44, and Kee Thompson, who was 45 or 46, both of whom were from the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation. Local authorities say the crime doesn't appear to be motivated by race but Shelly wants the FBI to determine whether the murders are a hate crime.

“I want justice for my brother. He was a very peaceful person and we are going to miss him very much." Veda Yazzie, who is Thompson's sister, told KOAT-TV.

Native Americans make up about 4.6 percent of the Albuquerque's population and the city is close to several reservations, including a Navajo community that's detached from the main reservation. Homeless Native Americans tend to remain on the streets for longer periods and tend to be hospitalized and attacked more often, the Journal reported, citing data from the mayor's office.

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. Authorities said the teens beat Gorman and Thompson so bad that their bodies were unrecognizable.

Carrillo and Tafoya lived in a house adjacent to the lot where the men were killed. Other Navajo tribal members said the teens often targeted homeless people.

Get the Story:
Navajo Nation asks FBI to investigate brutal slayings (The Albuquerque Journal 7/25)
Homeless beating victim's sister: 'I want justice' (KOAT 7/24)
ABQ, Navajo Nation team up to fight homelessness (KRQE 7/24)
Navajo Nation to partner with Albuquerque to tackle homelessness (KOB 7/24)

Related Stories
Navajo Nation president to discuss brutal murders with mayor (7/24)
Navajo Nation officials seek meeting in response to murders (7/23)
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