Navajo Nation officer dies after shooting

A Navajo Nation Police Department officer shot while responding to a domestic violence call in rural McKinley County died Sunday, according to the FBI.

Officer Houston Largo, 27, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in critical condition following the shooting near Prewitt, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said in a news release.

Fisher said a suspect is in custody, but he did not release the person’s name. The shooting remains under investigation by the FBI, New Mexico State Police and the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office, Fisher said.

Largo was a decorated officer with five years of service, Fisher said.

Lt. James Maiorano of the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies from his office were dispatched to an address on County Road 19 late Saturday “in reference to a Navajo police officer possibly being shot.”

“It’s believed that Navajo Police Department officer Houston Largo had responded to some sort of a dispute at that address, made contact with two subjects in a vehicle,” Maiorano said. “While detaining the driver, the passenger fled on foot.”

This undated photo shows Navajo Nation police officer James Largo. Largo died after responding to a domestic violence call near the small town of Prewitt, N.M. (Source: Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President)
This undated photo shows Navajo Nation police officer James Largo. Largo died after responding to a domestic violence call near the small town of Prewitt, N.M. (Source: Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President)

Maiorano said it’s not clear what led to the shooting or whether the driver or passenger was responsible. He said that deputies believe a passerby found Largo or noticed his police unit after the shooting and called Crownpoint dispatch for help.

Prewitt is located on the Navajo Nation west of Grants. Maiorano said the shooting took place about nine miles north of Prewitt.

Largo is the first law enforcement officer killed this year in New Mexico.

The shooting captured the attention of Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, who visited UNM-H on Sunday, according to a social media post. He said the officer’s death was “one of the most trying times” he has had as president.

He said officer “lives are precious. They are the ones who stand guard over our nation and protect us.”

Begaye said Largo died around 3 p.m. Sunday. He was from Thoreau and had served in the Navajo Nation Police Department’s Crownpoint District.

Gov. Susana Martinez said in a statement that the news “reinforces the dangers our police officers face every day.”

Fisher said more information will be released as the investigation continues.

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