After several days of silence, Navajo Nation President Russell Begay finally issued a statement about the officer-involved shooting in Winslow, Arizona that led to the death of Navajo Nation member Loreal Tsingine.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, March 30, Begaye stated that he supports the role of public safety officers and they “deserve to be commended” for risking their lives to serve the public. However, Begaye also suggested that he supports an independent investigation of the incident.

“We hear about these types of shootings happening across the country,” he said in the press release. “If there is no legitimate justification for taking Tsingine’s life, then the Navajo Nation wants the fullest extent of the law to be taken in serving justice.”

On Sunday, March 27, Winslow police officers were dispatched to a shoplifting call at a Circle K store. According to police reports, when an officer attempted to arrest Tsingine, a struggle ensued and she attempted to use a weapon against officers. This led to an officer shooting Tsingine five times.

Reports later emerged that the weapon Tsingine allegedly used against the officers was a pair of scissors.

The officer has not been identified by the police department and has been placed on administrative leave. At this time, the incident is under investigation by the Department of Public Safety’s Major Crimes District.

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