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Sat, May 28

Briefs | Navajo officials distribute masks and sanitizers

Navajo officials have distributed protective masks and hand sanitizer to residents in Shiprock, New Mexico in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19. The tribal council chambers in Window Rock is pictured. (Photo by William Nakai, cc-by-sa-3.0, https://bit.ly/3720MGy)

Navajo officials have distributed protective masks and hand sanitizer to residents in Shiprock, New Mexico in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19. The tribal council chambers in Window Rock is pictured. (Photo by William Nakai, cc-by-sa-3.0, https://bit.ly/3720MGy)

WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation officials have distributed masks and hand sanitizers in the community of Shiprock, New Mexico to help keep local residents safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile Saturday, tribal health officials reported 330 new cases and four more deaths on the vast reservation that covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

On Friday, the tribe had reported 500 new cases and one death.

The latest numbers pushed the tribe’s totals since the pandemic began to 47,959 cases with 1,607 known deaths.

“Our elders, our grandparents, always tell us that the safest place to be is at home and that remains true during this pandemic,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said Saturday in a statement. “Our elders also have the highest vaccination rate among any age group on the Navajo Nation.

“With over 87% of elders vaccinated for COVID-19, they are leading the way and setting a great example. Take precautions, wear two masks in public, get your booster shot, and limit travel as much as possible as this surge continues,” Nez added.

Nez recently issued an executive order mandating all employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination booster shot by Monday.

Phoenix gets grant for stations along 5-mile streetcar route

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Public Transit Department has received a $920,000 grant to manage the planning of 11 stations along a 5-mile (8-kilometer) streetcar route that would connect four activity centers in Mesa.

The money from the Transit-Oriented Development Planning grant will be used to conduct extensive planning efforts, determine design guidelines and establish economic strategies, according to Mesa officials.

The route would connect Riverview Marketplace, Asian District, Fiesta District and downtown Mesa when it’s completed, the officials said.

The Valley Metro Tempe Street Car Project was allocated $17.4 million last June under the American Rescue Plan to advance the 3-mile streetcar plan with 14 stations and six vehicles.

Douglas teen pleads guilty in terrorism case

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. - A 14-year-old boy suspected of building pipe bombs in his Douglas home will serve at least 18 months in a juvenile detention facility.

The Sierra Vista Herald newspaper reported Monday that the teen pleaded guilty to one count each of promoting terrorism and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Cochise County Deputy Attorney Doyle Johnstun said a disposition of his case indicates he will go to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

The teen won't stay there beyond his 18th birthday. In an email, Johnstun said his release date will be up to the corrections department.

The boy was arrested in May 2021 after authorities found a pipe bomb and preparation for a second in a back room of the home he shares with his mother and older brother.

He was already on the FBI's radar because of terrorism-related social media posts.

Prosecutors wanted him tried as an adult. His attorney, Xochitl Orozco, argued his client should be tried as a juvenile because of his age, autism and other mental issues.

Phoenix police ID armed man shot and killed by officers

PHOENIX - Phoenix police have identified a man who officers shot and killed after he reached for a gun.

Authorities say 37-year-old Dedrick Garcia was the suspect who died while holed up in a car Saturday.

The incident started around 4:40 a.m. when an officer saw a driver in central Phoenix speeding and carrying out other traffic violations.

The officer saw the suspect’s car stop in the driveway of a home. Officers later approached the vehicle and saw Garcia lying in the backseat. They say the knocked on the car windows several times to talk to him but he didn’t respond.

The occupants of the home said they didn’t recognize the car and wanted it gone.

Police say officers then spotted a handgun inside the car. A tactical support unit was called in and officers attempted for almost another hour to speak with Garcia.

Authorities say the officers then broke a window. Garcia grabbed a gun and officers fired their weapons and at least one pepper ball round.

Garcia was pronounced dead.

Police say the two officers involved in the shooting had body cameras that were on. Investigators are still collecting evidence in the shooting.

Phoenix police: 20-year-old man fatally shot in parking lot

PHOENIX - A 20-year-old man has died after being shot in a Phoenix parking lot, police said Sunday.

They said officers were called to the scene about 9:30 p.m. Saturday and found Darea Owens with gunshot wounds.

Owens was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe Owens was with a group of people when a shooting broke out.

Police said it’s still unclear what led to the shooting.

They didn’t immediate say if any suspects in the case have been identified.

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