A San Diego man who was fatally shot during a gun battle last month with police in California was a former U.S. Marine and ex-police officer, authorities said Wednesday.
He fired through his windshield and continued to shoot as he exited the vehicle. One officer was shot in the leg by friendly fire, police said.
Nelson was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1996, according to Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe. Nelson previously worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Public Safety until it was absorbed into the sheriff’s department in 2010.
Grisafe said Nelson may also have served in the Army and Air Force reserves. He did not have a previous criminal record, the lieutenant said.
The incident began when a Pasadena officer saw Nelson make an illegal turn, park in the middle of the street and get out of the car, authorities said.
The officer tried to speak to Nelson but he got back into his car and drove away. Officers pursued Nelson in vehicles and with a helicopter before a supervisor called off the ground chase and let the helicopter take over. Nelson drove slowly but did not stop for red lights and stop signs, the video shows.
Police in patrol vehicles began chasing him again and forced a crash using an intervention maneuver designed to stop a car. The video shows Nelson open fire while still seated after his car struck a police vehicle.
Nelson got out of the car and continued shooting as officers returned fire.
Nelson was struck multiple times and died at the scene, officials said. Police said they found two other loaded firearms in his car.