(Lander, Wyo.) – An affidavit filed in the case against 20-year-old Owen John Brown reveals more alleged details in which the defendant was shot by a Wind River Police Officer.
Brown has been charged with Assault on a Federal Officer. Court documents alleged Brown “did knowingly and forcibly assault, resist, oppose, and impede Bureau of Indian Affairs Police Officer Jose Valdez, while Officer Valdez was engaged in the performance of his official duties, which resulted in physical contact with Officer Valdez.” The crime is punishable by up to eight years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
The affidavit goes on to allege that Brown attempted to run over Valdez with a car. There is no mention, as previously reported, that Brown fired gunshots at the officer. Officers allegedly did shoot at Brown during the incident.
The affidavit filed in U.S. District Court is written by FBI Special Agent Jordan Pyle, who investigated the incident.
He writes that, from interviews conducted with Valdez and BIA Officer Michael Justice, that Valdez observed Brown make a traffic violation (crossing the center lane of travel) at about 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 23 on 17 Mile Road. While initiating a traffic stop, Valdez was reportedly informed that Brown, the registered owner of the vehicle, was wanted on a tribal arrest warrant. The Hyundai Sonata’s driver did not stop and continued onto C’Hair Lane before stopping on a dirt driveway. Justice was called in as back up.
“Officers Valdez and Justice removed the back seat passengers (three total) from the sedan before making contact with Brown, who was seated in the front passenger seat,” states the affidavit. “Brown was given verbal instructions and requested to exit the sedan on multiple occasions before finally stepping from the sedan. Once Brown opened the passenger side door and stepped out, Officer Valdez attempted to restrain Brown for a high risk search for weapons. At this time, Brown yelled ‘F*** you!’ and turned around and threw a punch with his right hand at Officer Valdez’s face and head. Officer Valdez was struck by Brown causing him to stagger backwards.”
Justice allegedly attempted to Taser Brown but missed. Meanwhile Valdez reportedly moved to the front of the vehicle and drew his weapon while Justice tried to gain compliance from Brown and the person seated in the driver’s seat. However, the person in the driver’s seat got out and Brown took the seat.
“Brown started the sedan, placed it in gear and accelerated towards Officer Valdez, striking him in the right leg/shin area with the front portion of the vehicle,” states the affidavit. “Officer Valdez began to back up and move to his right while firing his weapon at Brown who continued accelerating towards Officer Valdez. Officer Justice also fired his duty weapon at Brown while Brown was accelerating toward Officer Valdez. Brown ultimately turned the vehicle sharply to the right and attempted to flee the scene.”
Justice reportedly followed in his vehicle and apprehended Brown.
“Officer Valdez stated that he believed Brown was attempting to run him over and thought Brown was going to kill him,” states the affidavit.
According radio traffic that evening, Brown received an injury to his right arm from the shooting. He had his initial appearance in Denver on Dec. 26 because that was where he was receiving treatment, U.S. District Attorney Spokesman John Powell said. A public defender was appointed, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 31 in Denver.