The northern New Mexico activist was 29-year-old when he and a group of land grant advocates raided a Rio Arriba County courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, N.M. to attempt a citizen's arrest of then-District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez over Hispanic land rights issues.
It was Valdez who shot and wounded a state police officer. The raiders, led by Reies Lopez Tijerina, also beat a deputy and took a sheriff and reporter hostage.
Valdez was convicted of assault but was later pardoned by Gov. Bruce King.