Cop beater caught in Sanders


A car thief involved in a hit and run accident and officer assault on Feb. 28 was apprehended at the Sanders, Ariz. Mustang gas station March 1, Gallup Police Department Capt. Rick White said.

After a two-day search, Navajo Police Department investigators and Arizona Department of Public Safety officers arrested Leonard Yellowhorse, Jr. without incident.

Events leading to Yellowhorse's arrest began shortly before noon on Sunday, when police were dispatched to the scene of a two-vehicle collision at Panz Allegra, 1201 E. Hwy 66. The occupants of a white Cadillac involved in the accident told police that the other vehicle, a maroon Mitsubishi jeep (SUV), had fled the scene.

Officer Andrea Tsosie located the vehicle in the parking lot of Church's Chicken, 1203 E. Hwy 66. Inside was Yellowhorse, and a female passenger. When she ran the license plate, the vehicle came up as stolen.

Next, she attempted to handcuff Yellowhorse when he reportedly punched her in the face – at least twice – and took off westbound on Hwy 66. A pursuit of the suspect vehicle ensued on westbound Interstate 40, but White said because of traffic at the time, officers called off the chase.

Gallup resident Valencia Peterson witnessed Tsosie being assaulted by Yellowhorse and came to her aid. According to the report, "Peterson advised that the officer had a hard time breathing."

White said that Tsosie was transported to a local hospital where she was treated and released. He said that she didn't sustain any broken bones, but was bruised and swollen from the incident.

Meanwhile, Yellowhorse, 25, of Houck, Ariz. was transported to Apache County Jail for booking. He was wanted on two warrants in Apache County, White said, and could spend up to 10 days in jail there before he's extradited to McKinley County Adult Detention Center. He's being held on a $15,000 cash only bond.

"Two detectives – Nicole Martinez and Steven Peshlakai – were sent to Apache County where Yellowhorse confessed to battering Officer Tsosie and to stealing the vehicle," White said.

Yellowhorse faces multiple charges, entailing: aggravated battery upon a peace officer; receiving stolen vehicle (possession); two counts of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer; tampering with evidence; and leaving the scene of an accident.