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VIDEO: Car Theft Suspect Starts Gunfight With Cops At Shopping Center

Milpitas, CA – Milpitas police released bodycam and parking lot surveillance video of an extended gun battle with a car theft suspect that happened in a shopping center parking lot in the middle of an October afternoon (video below).

The gunfight erupted at about 3:41 p.m. on Oct. 15 when police detectives found a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of the Milpitas Square shopping center, located in the 400-block of Barber Lane, KPIX reported.

Surveillance video showed that detectives used three police vehicles to box the suspect vehicle into a parking space.

Several additional unmarked vehicles surrounded them and multiple detectives jumped out, the videos showed.

Audio from the bodycam showed that multiple officers repeatedly ordered the driver – later identified as 42-year-old Michael Edward Nelson, Jr. – to put his hands up.

Nelson opened the car door and started to get out of the car and officers ordered him to stay in the vehicle and show them his hands, the video showed.

Police said the suspect emerged from the vehicle despite commands to stay inside and had a gun in his hand, KPIX reported.

Milpitas police said a detective fired at Nelson when he saw the weapon.

The video showed that 25 seconds passed and then Nelson returned fire at the officers, KPIX reported.

The suspect and officer exchanged gunfire for an extended period of time, with Nelson stopping to reload at least once during the firefight, according to police.

Police released bodycam from two of the officers who were on the scene that showed the gunfight from two different perspectives, KPIX reported.

However, authorities did not release the bodycam from the detective whose bullet actually struck Nelson.

After Nelson was believed to have been shot, officers ordered him to let go of his gun and tried to determine whether he remained a threat.

Video showed the officers on their bellies looking under vehicles at the gunman, trying to determine if he was still moving and repeatedly ordering him to let go of his weapon for about 45 minutes.

When they were finally able to approach Nelson, detectives rendered First Aid to the gunman until paramedics arrived on the scene to transport him to the hospital, KPIX reported.

Nelson died a few days later in the hospital, KTVU reported.

Police recovered an unregistered handgun and multiple additional magazines loaded with ammunition from inside the stolen vehicle.

No officers or bystanders were injured during the gunfight, according to KPIX.

Milpitas police said the investigation remained active and that the department had also launched an internal investigation, FOX News reported.

“The body-worn camera video will show how quickly an enforcement stop can evolve into a violent encounter,” Milpitas Police Chief Jared Hernandez said in a video statement released by the police department.

“When a use of force results in the loss of life, we understand the impact is significant to the involved families, to the officers, to the department, and to our community as a whole,” Chief Hernandez said.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent investigation of the officer-involved shooting, KPIX reported.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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