Around 8pm on December 21, 2013 18-year-old Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket was unjustly slain, shot seven times by two Custer County Sheriff employees – Dillon Mach* and a still-unnamed second shooter. Present were also two Oklahoma Highway Patrol employees who work out of Troop H.
Will the triggermen face criminal charges?
That depends on the conclusion reached by Dennis Smith, Custer County District Attorney, who’s already received the investigatory report done by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), and who last week received the medical examiner’s report (11-page document embedded below).
Call Dennis Smith, Custer County DA
Tell him you want justice for Mah-hi-vist. Tell him to hold the killers accountable.
Mahi-hi-vist, which is Cheyenne for “Red Bird,” had graduated from high school a year early and was attending college. Melissa, his mom, described him as “fun-loving” and noted that “he liked to make people laugh.”
Diagnosed four years ago with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Mah-hi-vist was having an episode. Melissa and Mah-hi-vist’s father Wilbur were concerned for his well-being and around 7pm they called 911 out of concern for their son – a decision they now regret.
The Goodblankets – Wilbur, Melissa, their son Ahk-ta-na-hi, and their dog – who were told by police employees to stay out of the way, sat inside Wilbur’s idling pickup facing the house. Mah-hi-vist sat inside talking with his girlfriend.
Justice for Mah-hi-vist Touching Cloud Facebook page https://facebook.com/TouchingCloudGoodblanket
Two waves of police employees entered the dwelling through a large bedroom window that Mah-hi-vist had earlier broken.
In the first entry, two Custer County Sheriff employees were inside less than 15-seconds before they exited and walked to the ambulance on scene, as one of those two – Chance Avery – had cut his hand on the broken glass.
In the second entry, two Custer County Sheriff employees and two Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) employees entered through the window. Less than a minute later one of those OHP employees opened the front door for a third OHP employee to enter. As that happened, Mah-hi-vist’s girlfriend Noami Barron ran out the door between the kitchen and the garage and, as she fell crying and sick, yelled “They shot Bird!”
It’s thought that between the two entries, as Custer County and OHP employees arrived, they saw a fellow badge-wearing colleague enter an ambulance, and assumed that whatever injury happened was caused by Mah-hi-vist. Thus vengeance, not deescalation, was their main drive.
To date, Custer County sheriff Bruce J. Peoples has claimed that Dillon Mach and Chance Avery struggled with Mah-hi-vist and were forced to resort to deadly force. It was at that time, Peoples has stated, that Avery accidentally shot his own hand. Yet Avery wasn’t even on the property when Mah-hi-vist was shot, and the injury he sustained was caused by the broken glass of the window where he had initially entered the house.
“He about cut his hand off” was what Avery’s colleague communicated to the ambulance personnel as he and Avery walked past the Goodblanket’s in their truck.
Peoples also has stated that Mah-hi-vist was assaulting people in the house – yet as the Goodblankets have made clear that never happened.
Wilbur said when on the phone with 911, prior to the arrival of the police employees, that he told Mah-hi-vist, then on the exterior of the house, upset and trying to break windows, to “stop.” The “stop” communicated was not related to an assault or threatened assault, but to encourage Mah-hi-vist to chill out.
If anything, Peoples has purposefully taking things out of context to fit his version of what unfolded in an attempt to placate questions about the actions of his colleagues that resulted in the death of Mah-hi-vist. Perhaps it’s not too surprising then, that he didn’t want to engage when I stopped by his facility last week…
RAW FOOTAGE of Custer County Sheriff’s Office visit bambuser.com/channel/copblock
All told, that night, at the Goodblanket property were five Custer County Sheriff employees, six Oklahoma Highway Patrol employees, and one Clinton Police employee. I don’t doubt that each of those twelve think about the killing of Mah-ha-vist daily, but I wonder – will one (or more) of them, or someone close to them who knows the truth of the situation, speak out?
*Note that Dillon Mach had previously worked for Clinton police and was about to be fired but did a lateral transfer to Custer County Sheriff before that happened.
Become familiar with the details of this incident and give Dennis Smith, the DA a call (580) 323-3232
If you have your own questions, please feel free to call those at the Custer County Sheriff’s Office and the other police outfits involved.
- Bruce J Peoples
- (580) 323-1616
- 700 North 7th Ave, Arapaho, OK 73620
Mr. Neidy at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Troop H office wasn’t too much more forthcoming than Peoples but at least he had the integrity to meet me in person.
Neidy did divulge that his colleagues don audio recorders on their person and that OHP vehicles are outfitted with dash cams. When asked if that evidence was preserved Neidy told me that it would have, if requested by the investigators (those at OSBI) – I guess we’ll soon find out.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol – Troop H
- (580) 323-2424
- 2225 Gary Freeway, Clinton, OK 73601
- David E. Crabtree
- (580) 323-2323
- 401 Gary Avenue, Blvd., OK 73601
- Mah-hi-vist Touching Cloud Goodblanket Facebook cause
- Justice for Mah-hi-vist t-shirt campaign via Booster.com
- Bambuser.com/channel/copblock stream shows raw footage of attempted police interactions at Custer County Sheriff’s Office and Oklahoma Highway Patrol
- OSBI Investigates Custer County Police-Involved Shooting 2013.12.23 Jessica Brown at Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
- Oklahoma parents say son needed help, instead Custer County sheriff’s deputies shot him 2014.02.02 by Jennifer Palmer at The Oklahoman
- Questionable Shootings Raise Tensions in Custer County 2014.02.14 by Brian Daffron at Indian Country Today Media Network
- Family of shooting victim awaits Custer County DAs decision after OSBI releases report 2014.02.15 by Rosemary Stephens at Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune
- Justice for Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket rally 2014.02.19 at The Watonga Republican
- Peaceful rallies give voice for hope of justice in shooting case 2014.03.01 at Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune
When working from a McDonald’s in Clinton before I met with Melissa and Wilbur a woman told me that they are very respected in the community. That sentiment was echoed by the many people I’ve since crossed-paths with in the area and from my own personal experience. My interaction with them when collecting content for this video, and later at a Native American Church ceremony, made an impact. I have nothing but respect and love for them and those in their sphere, and hope that those responsible for taking their son are held accountable.
When working in nearby Yukon, OK I interacted with a number of police employees who worked for different police outfits. When they learned that I was digging into the killing of Mah-hi-vist they definitely weren’t flippant but seemed understanding of the desire to get attention on this situation.
Ida Hoffman, chief of staff at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes noted, “We’re not going to let it go. We’re going to stand behind the family and do everything we can as a tribe to help them.” Me too.
Also, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes’ Fifth Legislature passed “A Resolution in Support of the Goodblanket Family,” that states in part:
Now be it resolved the Fifth Legislature of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes calls for a complete, fair and timely investigation into these shootings, for better management of crisis situations by local law enforcement through changes in policies and additional training, and for better relations between the Tribes and local law enforcement.