HCSO says Blue Lake shooting was self-defense, employee set to be released from custody

BLUE LAKE, Calif. (KIEM) — Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office investigators say the gas station employee involved in last week’s armed robber in Blue Lake, originally facing murder charges, acted in self-defense and is set to be released from custody.

That employee is 39-year-old Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. Police say he initially denied shooting the robber and also denied possession of the stolen firearm located at the scene.

Upon further investigation, Nelson Jr. allegedly made efforts to conceal the firearm prior to HCSO’s arrival, and a bullet consistent with evidence collected at the scene was found in Nelson Jr’s pocket.

Then yesterday, Nelson Jr. provided an additional statement, admitting to shooting the robber and claiming self-defense, which investigators determined to be true. In line with this determination, District Attorney Maggie Fleming has declined to prosecute Nelson Jr.

Investigators have also identified the robber as 53-year-old Jeffrey Allen Kirwan of Santa Rosa. Kirwan has also been identified as a possible suspect in a recent robbery at a Trinidad business. The investigation into that case is ongoing.