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Violent shooting spree leads to arrest of suspect in Gallup

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A man from Fruitland, New Mexico is accused of killing one man — laughing and shooting as the victim begged for his life — injuring another and terrorizing a family on a road trip during an April shooting spree.

Rydell Happy, 30, is charged federally with second-degree murder in the April 24 death of the man.

According to a criminal complaint, officers were alerted to Happy's crime spree after a family traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 491, about 40 miles north of Gallup, reported to law enforcement that they had been followed, rear-ended, and shot at by someone sitting in the front passenger seat of a white SUV. The call came in around 10 pm.

Further investigation revealed that earlier that day, Happy and two others had been involved in a separate shooting incident in Gallup.

After the shooting on the highway, the family continued driving south, and one of the vehicle's occupants began to argue with Happy. Happy then ordered the group to get out of the car, and once they had done so, he shot the man who had argued with him. Happy then grabbed a baseball bat and began hitting the man in the head. Happy and one of the others that was him then dragged the man's body over the edge of a nearby cliff.

Following reports of the earlier shooting on Highway 491, officers from the Navajo Nation Police Department were on the lookout for a white SUV. Officers later observed a vehicle matching the description and pursued. The driver fled, but eventually crashed the SUV, and three individuals, including Happy, were arrested.

Through follow-up investigation, investigators were able to find the victim's body, which showed signs of severe head trauma.

If convicted of the current charges, Happy faces up to life in prison.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office, made the announcement on May 10.

The Farmington Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Department of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Eliot Neal is prosecuting the case.