FBI names suspect in shooting of tribal officer in Camp Verde

A criminal complaint made public Friday charges Valentin Rodriguez with assaulting two tribal...
A criminal complaint made public Friday charges Valentin Rodriguez with assaulting two tribal police officers.(FBI)
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 9:01 PM MST
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CAMP VERDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5/AP) — Federal agents are out for a second day looking for the suspect who was involved in the shooting of a Yavapai-Apache Nation Police sergeant. The FBI said on Friday that the suspect is Valentin Rodriguez, who was previously named a person of interest. The agency is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Rodriguez’s arrest. Yavapai Silent Witness is also offering up to a $10,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest or arrests in the case.

Rodriguez is described as a Hispanic man, 5′9″, weighing about 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Authorities believe he may be a member of, or connected to, the Yavapai-Apache tribe in the area.

The shooting

It all started on Wednesday night when two Yavapai-Apache Police officers were in the Camp Verde area around 7:30 p.m. after a woman called 911 because they heard gunshots. She later told police she thought she heard officers telling a man to drop his gun, and he responded by saying “something about being left alone,” according to the criminal complaint. That’s when Rodriguez opened fire on the pair, severely injuring Sgt. Preston Brogdon, the FBI said. He then took off. Brogdon was flown to a Phoenix hospital, where, as of Friday afternoon, he’s in critical but stable condition, according to Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairman Jon Huey.

Officers found a semi-automatic rifle and ammunition near the vehicle, according to court documents. Rodriguez’s daughter, who wasn’t identified in the court documents, said she was talking to her father on the phone Wednesday night, and he told her he saw two officers with guns before she heard multiple gunshots.

A search of Rodriguez’s home turned up other firearms and ammunition, despite his unsuccessful attempt to restore his right to possess firearms after a felony weapons conviction in 2005, FBI Special Agent John Garcia wrote in an affidavit.

Rodriguez is charged with two counts of assaulting a federal officer and two counts of discharging a firearm in a violent crime. The federal charges were possible because Brogdon and his fellow officer have what are called special law enforcement certifications with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs that allow them to investigate federal crimes on the tribe’s reservation.

Helping the family

Meanwhile, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is raising money for Brogdon’s family to help cover medical expenses, child care and other bills, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Laura Bauer. The five-year veteran of the tribal police force is the father of four young children. “The Brogdons are dealing with enough right now, so if we, as a community, can take at least this one thing off their plate, we want to do that for them,” Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said in a statement.

Brogdon’s wife, Bailey, said Friday that she’s been overwhelmed by the support for her husband and family. “Preston is very strong,” she said in a statement released by the sheriff’s office. “He is physically strong, and he has a sort of stubbornness I think he got from being a Marine. So, I know he will make it through this.”

Huey said Friday that the tribe is “heartbroken” about the shooting but grateful for the support and prayers from law enforcement agencies and others across Arizona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.