3 people federally charged for ‘violent daylong crime spree’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three people now reportedly face federal charges for what authorities describe as a violent daylong crime spree in northwestern New Mexico.

Everything began around 10:05 p.m. on April 24. The Navajo Nation Police Department received a report about shots fired near U.S. Highway 491 near milepost 40. Officers got in touch with the caller who was traveling south on U.S. 491.

The caller said they pulled over so their family could stretch their legs briefly. As they did that, a white SUV pulled up alongside them.

The family all got back in the vehicle and kept going south. However, the white SUV followed their vehicle. The SUV allegedly rear-ended their vehicle before pulling and running into them – all while a passenger fired gunshots at them.

The family eventually pulled off and went to a nearby home to get help.

Navajo Nation police met with the family and reportedly found multiple bullet holes. They said the holes were in the trunk lid, driver’s side door and window and the left-rear passenger window of their vehicle.

Officers went looking for the white SUV and eventually found it. They pursued the SUV until it crashed. When the SUV crashed, officers found three people inside and took them into custody.

Officers took photos of the SUV. They said they found shell casings, cellphones and a pellet gun. They also noticed what appeared to be blood on the driver’s side floorboard.

Police identified one of the three people as 30-year-old Rydell Happy. Investigators found that Happy and the group were involved in a separate shooting in Gallup. Happy reportedly directed the shooting to happen.

After they reportedly shot at the family, the group kept driving south. A man in the vehicle allegedly started arguing with Happy. Happy then demanded they all get out of the car. Once they did, Happy shot him. Happy then allegedly grabbed a baseball bat and started hitting him the head, then drug his body over the edge of a nearby cliff with someone else’s help.

Investigators found the man’s body. They said it showed signs of severe head trauma.

Happy now faces up to life in prison. The shooting happened on Navajo Nation land so federal prosecutors are handling the case. This case is being prosecuted as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Regional Outreach Program.

Dewayne George, a 22-year-old man, and 28-year-old Brittania Navaho were identified as the others who were reportedly in the vehicle with Happy. George reportedly faces up to 15 years in prison for his charges. Navaho is reportedly charged with the alleged straw purchase of the gun used in the murder and will remain in custody. Navaho faces 25 years in prison.