Navajo Nation in mourning after officer slain in the line of duty

Navajo Nation police officers and tribal members comfort each other following the fatal shooting of Alex Yazzie. Photo by The Arizona Republic / Twitter

Flags are flying at half-staff on the Navajo Nation in honor of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty on Thursday night.

Alex Yazzie, 42, was killed in a shootout with a domestic violence suspect in Arizona, not far from the New Mexico state line. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who had worked for the Navajo Police Department for 14 years, leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

“The Navajo Nation mourns the loss of Alex Yazzie, a dedicated Navajo Police officer that gave his life in the line of duty to protect the lives of others,” President Ben Shelly said said in a press release. “We are deeply saddened over his sudden departure.”

Two other officers were also injured by gunfire with the suspect. Herbert Frazier, 41, and James Hale, 48, are hospitalized and expected to recover fully.

"I ask the Navajo People to join me in prayer for the families of Alex Yazzie, Herbert Frazier, and James Hale," Navajo Nation Council Speaker Speaker LoRenzo Bates said in a statement. "May the Holy People bless your families in this difficult time. "

The suspect was identified as 24-year-old Justin Fowler. He was allegedly beating his partner and fired a gun towards his mother at the family's home on the New Mexico side of the reservation when officers responded.

Fowler fled the scene but not before firing an assault rifle at an officer. He then led police on a chase to the Arizona side of the reservation, where Yazzie was killed and Frazier and Hale were injured.

Fowler was killed during the shootout. His Facebook profile, now removed from the site, showed him posing with several firearms. He appeared to be an avid hunter.

Yazzie will be laid to rest on Friday in New Mexico.

Get the Story:
Locals turn out to honor fallen officer (The Farmington Daily Times 3/23)
Navajo police shooting: Violence haunts a land of tradition (The Arizona Republic 3/23)
Procession honors fallen officer (KRQE 3/21)
Shiprock officer killed in shootout (AP 3/21)
Navajo officer killed, 2 others injured during pursuit (12 News 3/20)

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One officer killed and another injured in Navajo Nation incident (3/20)

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