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Milpitas police make major reversal on timeline of October shootout


In a significantly differently account of an October fatal shootout with a suspect, Milpitas police now say one of their detectives fired first at 42-year-old Michael Nelson, who succumbed to his injuries four days after the gun battle.

The police department had originally stated that Nelson was the first to fire at detectives.

“Our initial belief and understanding at the time of the shooting was that detectives fired their weapons in response to Michael Nelson shooting first,” Milpitas police said in a statement released Friday. “Since then, we have learned a detective fired first (at) Michael Nelson, armed with a gun, (emerging) from a stolen vehicle.”

Nelson, a resident of Healdsburg, exchanged gunfire with detectives after being stopped in a reported stolen vehicle at the Milpitas Square Shopping Center on Oct. 15, police said. While Nelson couldn’t be identified at the scene, his fingerprints later determined that he was on post-release community supervision for identity theft against multiple people.

In addition to the change in details, Milpitas Police Chief Jared Hernandez released an an explanation as to why the department made the reversal in a video that includes about 10 minutes of security and bodycam footage of the incident.

Body camera video released Monday by Milpitas Police shows the moments before officer shot and killed 42-year-old Michael Nelson after stopping him in a reported stolen vehicle at the Milpitas Square Shopping Center on Oct. 15,2021. (Photo courtesy of Milpitas Police) 

In response to a series of emailed questions, Hernandez said that the department originally believed Nelson shot at officers first after their initial review of the video footage from the scene.

“We originally believed Mr. Nelson fired first based on our perception of the video evidence and the detective’s reactions in the surveillance footage coupled with the dispatch audio,” wrote Hernandez.

After interviewing an individual identified as “Detective #1” in bodycam footage, Hernandez said the department was able to determine that police shot first.

“Sometimes our press releases are time sensitive and we have to give our best understanding of what happened without the luxury of an in-depth analysis,” wrote Hernandez. “In this situation, our staff were trying to manage a complex scene, manage media inquiries, and ensuring the public had enough of the facts to have a basic understanding of what occurred. Our objective is to be as transparent as possible but with that in mind, the preliminary information in early press releases sometimes has to be updated.”

When asked why it took one month for the department to make the reversal, Hernandez said that there was “a lot of evidence to catalog and go through,” including interviews with the officers on the scene, witnesses, as well as Nelson’s family.

“It can take a while to put all of the pieces together and our objective is to do a thorough and accurate job,” he wrote.

The shooting has been subject to an internal review by the Milpitas Police Department and an investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, which are routine after a police shooting in the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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