Man accused of shooting deputy in Shelter Cove arrested

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SHELTER COVE- The man accused of shooting a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy in the chest in Shelter Cove has been arrested.  The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office took 55-year-old William Nelson into custody early Wednesday morning.

Just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a sheriff’s deputy and a sergeant arrived at a home on Kelly Lane in Shelter Cove looking for William Nelson.

"We had originally gone there to serve an order for the subject, William Lloyd Nelson, to vacate, with a domestic violence type vacate order," said Sheriff Michael Downey, who held a news conference on Wednesday.

Sheriff Downey says after the deputy and the sergeant briefly spoke with Nelson, Nelson shot the deputy in the chest with a handgun.

“There was an exchange of gunfire at the moment that the shooting occurred.  Both the sergeant and the deputy post haste left the area and went over a block wall or some kind of embankment somewhere around ten feet, the deputy did sprain his ankle also, and they exited any type of line of fire or danger they would be in," Sheriff Downey said.

The deputy who was shot was transported to Saint Joseph Hospital, and has since been released.  Sheriff Downey credits the bullet proof vest the deputy was wearing with saving his life.

"It's standard issued vests that we issue to all of our deputies. They're designed to stop a number of handgun style rounds.  In this case, it definitely did its job.  It did save his life as far as I'm concerned,” said Sheriff Downey.

By about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, a hard perimeter was set up around the area by local, state and federal agencies in an attempt to find Nelson or keep him from leaving the area.  Crisis negotiators were not able to get in contact with Nelson.  But then at about 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, deputies spotted Nelson.

"He apparently tried to reenter the residence, so in doing so, was observed by the deputies at the scene, and he was subsequently identified and arrested prior to getting in the residence," Sheriff Downey said.

Nelson is currently in the Humboldt County Jail and has been charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. His bail is set at $2 million.

"That was probably the best resolution we could of had to this incident," said Sheriff Downey.

Nelson also faces misdemeanor assault and battery and vandalism charges in Humboldt County.  The names of the deputies involved have not been released at this time and they are expected to be back at work in the next week.