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HomeNewsLocal NewsFemale shot in the face in apparent home burglary | Suspect arrested.

Female shot in the face in apparent home burglary | Suspect arrested.

On December 2, 2023, at about 6 am, the Snowflake-Taylor Police Department responded to a home burglary in which a 39-year-old female was reported to have been shot in the face by an unknown assailant who fled the scene. 

When officers arrived, they encountered the female and her parents in an apartment located at 662 S 1st West in Snowflake. Officers began rendering aid to the female after which she was transported to Summit Regional Hospital in Show Low by Taylor-Snowflake Fire and EMS.

After securing the victim’s apartment, additional officers were called to the area to begin searching for a male subject described as a Hispanic male wearing a black sweater and white sweatpants.

As the search was ongoing, an occupant of a nearby apartment located at 658 S 1st West in Snowflake, came outside and told officers that his roommate was involved in the situation and was inside the apartment.

At about 7:30 am, Officers surrounded the apartment, evacuated nearby residences, closed down the street, and began giving verbal commands to the roommate via loudspeaker to surrender.

“Officers asked me to leave my apartment, I walked down the road and could hear officers talking through a loudspeaker to the guy in the apartment. This stuff doesn’t happen in Snowflake,” said a witness to the event.

At just after 8 am, the subject was identified as 18-year-old, Joel Omari Hernandez. Hernandez surrendered to officers without further incident. He did not provide a statement as to the cause of the incident. Hernandez was later booked into the Navajo County Jail in Holbrook on the following charges (additional charges may be added as the investigation continues):

  • Attempted 1st Degree Murder
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • 1st Degree Burglary

During the search of the suspect’s apartment, a 9mm handgun was found inside.

It’s not clear if the .9mm handgun that officers found inside the apartment was the firearm used to shoot the female victim in the face.

At this time, the female victim has been flown to St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix and has been listed in critical condition in the ICU. 

Snowflake Police Chief Robert “Bobby” Martin said, “We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the victim and hope for a full and speedy recovery.” 

“We want to thank our police partners who responded quickly to assist in this investigation. The Show Low Police Department, Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Highway Patrol as well as the Arizona Rangers were instrumental in the investigative efforts that brought this incident to a quick close without further incident,” said Chief Martin.

Molly K Ottman Executive Editor/Journalist for Mountain Daily Star

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