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Suspect in shooting near Kemper Elementary is arrested in Arizona

Cortez police officers investigate a shooting at a home next to Kemper Elementary School Wednesday afternoon. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Tip to Cortez police leads to apprehension on Navajo Nation

A man suspected of shooting a woman at a residence next door to Kemper Elementary has been arrested in Arizona, according to the Cortez Police Department.

Gerardo Arturo Federico was apprehended at a residence in Lukachukai on the Navajo Reservation about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5, said Cortez Police Detective Tom Quinnett.

“Cortez police received a credible tip regarding the location of Mr. Federico, which led to his apprehension,” he said.

The Chinle Police Department, Apache County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona and the FBI assisted in the arrest.

Federico is being held at St. Johns Correction Center in Apache County, Quinnett said, and will be extradited to Cortez to face charges in the shooting. Federico is suspected of shooting a woman Sept. 15 outside the house at 546 E. Montezuma Ave. in Cortez.

Oct 21, 2021
Update: Police try to persuade shooting suspect to surrender; Kemper Elementary evacuated
Oct 21, 2021
Suspect in shooting near Kemper Elementary identified; arrest warrant issued

The incident triggered a five-hour standoff and the evacuation of nearby Kemper Elementary across the street from the residence. A handgun was recovered at the home, but Federico could not be located.

Police were called to the residence after a fight and shooting were reported at the home. The victim was treated for her injury at Southwest Memorial Hospital.

Based on witness statements after the shooting, police believed Federico was still in the home, and they spent hours trying to persuade him to surrender. During the standoff, Kemper went on lockdown, and was then evacuated.

Police later surmised that Federico was in the house briefly, but then fled the area before police arrived.

Gerardo Arturo Federico

Federico faces charges of alleged first-degree assault, violation of a protection order and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, according to Will Furse, assistant district attorney in the 22nd Judicial District.

Details of Federico’s arrest are pending a report from the Apache County Sheriff’s Office, Quinnett said. Cortez police officers were not present during the arrest.

Federico’s location on the Navajo Reservation created some jurisdictional issues for his arrest.

Bureau of Indian Affairs officers could not make an arrest on a Colorado warrant unless they adopted the case and got a federal warrant, Quinnett said. To save time, Apache County Sheriff officers were assigned the arrest because they are cross-deputized to work in Navajo Country.

Quinnett said Federico was hiding out at the residence, but it was not known how long he had been there.

“We wanted the public to know he has been apprehended, is in custody and no longer at large,” Quinnett said.

Extradition to the Montezuma County Detention Center is expected to take place this week.

Kemper Elementary students were evacuated Sept. 15 after a shooting and standoff at a residence next door. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

jmimiaga@the-journal.com