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Four Killed On Reservation In North Dakota Indian Territory

Police Siren

Four killed on reservation in New Town, North Dakota. According to, the FBI are investigating the shooting deaths of a woman and her three grandchildren on an American Indian reservation called the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The FBI is leading the investigation because the federal government has jurisdiction over crimes in Indian Country.

Martha Johnson, 64, and three of her grandchildren were gunned down in her New Town home Sunday afternoon while Martha’s husband was out hunting. One of the children managed to escape, call 911, and was not hurt.

The suicide hours later of a man described as a person of interest in the killings has prompted the FBI to release a statement saying they do not believe there is any further threat to the public. Mountrail County Sheriff Ken Halvorson said an unnamed New Town man in his 20s killed himself with a knife. “It happened in front of a deputy and a highway patrolman,” Halvorson said of the suicide.

Johnson and her grandchildren were not registered as enrolled tribal members, but the suicidal man was enrolled. Tex Hall, the Three Affiliated Tribes chairman, called the reservation shootings the “worst tragedy” he could remember.

“It’s a terrible loss, especially when young kids are involved. It’s a sad, sad day,” Hall said.

Slayings are relatively rare to this corner of the United States. FBI statistics show 24 murders and non-negligent manslaughters in the state of North Dakota last year.

Maddie Mendoza, who moved to the 2000-resident New Town from Arizona in August, said everyone was surprised by the killings. “This is a nice little quiet town, now this is happening,” Mendoza said.

Chris Enno, who is a neighbor to the Johnson family, says, “They must not have been in their right mind.”

With four killed on reservation the small community will be grieving this Thanksgiving week. The local school cancelled classes, and the community planned to hold a nighttime prayer vigil.

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12 Responses to “Four Killed On Reservation In North Dakota Indian Territory”

  1. Brian McInnis

    Yeah, I looked it up and there actually aren't any reservations for Indian people there, but there are some for North American people so you could fix your head-line if you feel like it.

  2. Trisha Coleman

    Prayers to all involved. So sad right here at the holiday season.

  3. Corey Nufer

    What kind of irresponsible, simple-minded a-hole puts a stock picture of a knife covered in blood at the top of a story about people actually being murdered? Patrick Frye, I hope when you die, somebody writes a story about it and puts a stock picture of the type of weapon with which you were murdered, covered in blood, at the top. You are not a journalist, you're a child with a copy of Microsoft Office Word.

  4. Patrick Frye

    No offense to anyone was intended. I simply could not find a picture relevant to the story. The killer committed suicide by knife. The murders were done by gun. Thus a generalized "murder" image was chosen. Other image searches turned up pictures of Native Americans shooting on horseback, which, yes, I thought people would find offensive.

  5. Pamela Bunting Lewis

    Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the Native Americans and the land that they so loved. This was their land and we all need to be mindful of that as we celebrate Thanksgiving. The original Pilgrims who came to this country were here for religious freedom but many were liars, thieves, tax evaders and murderers. ie, the current United States of America. That first feast was simple and natural. They smoked a peace pipe but years later that intrusion into the Native American land and space led to wars and many killing of both the "white man" and the Native Americans too. This is tragic at Thanksgiving time or any time. My prayers will be with this family and all Native Americans if I partake in a Thanksgiving feast at all this year. I am homeless because like the original Native Americans, I was robbed and cheated too. Worked for NATIVE AMERICAN CONSULTANTS of Washington, DC, no longer there but the Smithsonian now has the Native American Museum. The last I believe but should have been the first. Sorry about these tragic losses of life. Pamela Bunting Lewis November 20th, 2012.

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