A Towaoc man has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting a man in his home Saturday night.
Clarence M. Lehi, 55, is in custody after allegedly fatally shooting 22-year-old Winslow Bigsoldier at Lehis home in Towaoc.
According to an affidavit filed by an FBI investigator, a caller reported shots fired about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Lehi called dispatch and reported he just shot someone at his house in the 600 block of Mountain Sage Street in Towaoc. He requested police and ambulance assistance.
A U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs officer responded to the scene and found an individual slumped on the floor in the kitchen. Lehi said he shot Bigsoldier because Bigsoldier was attempting to attack him. In a subsequent interview with the agent, Lehi said he had been assaulted by Bigsoldier before and would not endure it again.
Bigsoldier was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the report, a witness in the home during the shooting told the investigating agent she was in the living room with an unidentified juvenile when she saw Lehi pick up a rifle and wrap it in a blanket. She said she heard Lehi tell Bigsoldier: Come over here. I have a present for you. Then she heard two gunshots. She fled the scene with the juvenile, who was treated at Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez for two metal fragments lodged in the hip area.
In a jail interview the following day, Lehi reportedly told the investigating agent he shot Bigsoldier because Bigsoldier had beaten Lehi several months prior. He said Bigsoldier had been drinking and was asked to leave, at which point Bigsoldier came after him with something in his hands. Lehi said he grabbed his rifle and fired one round into the ceiling to scare Bigsoldier, then shot him when he attempted to attack.
According to the FBI agents report, on April 18, Lehi reported being assaulted by Bigsoldier and was run over by an unidentified vehicle later that day. Lehi was flown to Grand Junction for treatment.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Attorneys Office, said a spokesperson with the FBI in Denver.
Lehi is set to appear at 11 a.m. today at U.S. District Court in Durango. If convicted, Lehi could face the death penalty or life in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Journal was unable to reach Lehis attorney for comment.
Durango Herald Staff Writer Shane Benjamin and Journal Denver Bureau reporter Joe Hanel contributed to this report.
Reach Reid Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.