Published On: Wed, Oct 31st, 2018

Navajo Man, Elvis Lee Tom Pleads Guilty to Assault on a Federal Officer

Elvis Lee Tom, 39, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Pinedale, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to an assault on a federal officer charge.

Tom was arrested on April 23, 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon resulting in serious bodily injury.  The complaint charged Tom with attacking a tribal officer of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety (NNDPS), on April 14, 2018, on the Navajo Indian Reservation by taking a Taser gun away from the officer and using the Taser gun on the officer while attempting to avoid arrest.  According to the complaint, after the officer used the Taser gun on Tom, Tom struggled with the officer, gained control of the Taser gun, and deployed the Taser gun on the shoulder of the officer.

Photo/Pete Linforth

Tom was indicted on May 9, 2018, and was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, a Taser, with intent to do bodily harm and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  The incitement charged Tom with committing the crimes on April 15, 2018, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Tom pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assaulting a federal officer.  In entering the guilty plea, Tom admitted that on April 15, 2018, he assaulted an NNDPS officer while the officer was attempting to arrest him.  Tom further admitted that he physically struggled with the officer as he attempted to take the officer’s Taser gun.  After gaining control of the Taser gun, Tom admitted using it to stun the officer twice, causing the officer to suffer pain, bruising and abrasions.

At sentencing, Tom faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.  He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback is prosecuting the case.

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