Clay County man shot by sheriff's deputies out of hospital and in jail

George Robert Nelson, 47, of Melrose, is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, which is a second-degree felony, and a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in public.

A Clay County man shot by county sheriff’s deputies who said he pointed a shotgun at one of them last month is out of the hospital and in jail.

George Robert Nelson, 47, of Melrose, is charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, which is a second-degree felony, and a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in public, Clay County court records showed.

Nelson was being held in lieu of $105,002 total bail Saturday at the Clay County Jail. He had been arrested Friday, according to Clay County Sheriff’s Office records.

Information about whether he has an attorney wasn’t immediately available.

He had been hospitalized since being wounded June 23 in a deputy-involved shooting at his home on Lake Echo Ridge Drive, a dirt road in woods near Clay County Road 219 between Melrose and Keystone Heights.

Nelson, who jail records list as self-employed, was injured when deputies opened fire on him as he came outside and pointed a shotgun at one of them about 2:15 p.m. that day, Angela Spears, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, has said.

Deputies went to the home after neighbors reported Nelson was firing his shotgun in the yard, Spears previously said.

Two deputies fired an unknown number of shots hitting Nelson multiple times. Described by the Sheriff’s Office as being in critical condition, Nelson was flown by helicopter ambulance to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Neither deputy nor anyone else was reported injured.

The Sheriff’s Office didn’t name the deputies involved in the shooting, but Sheriff’s Darryl Daniels told reporters that one was a 17-year Sheriff’s Office veteran, and the other had been with the agency for three to five years.

Both deputies were placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard Sheriff’s Office procedure for officer-involved shootings.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was called in to investigate the shooting, which also is standard practice at the Clay Sheriff’s Office.

Information about the status of the FDLE investigation wasn’t immediately available.

The case is the third shooting involving Clay deputies this year, according to Times-Union records. No deputies were reported injured in the prior cases.

On Feb. 2, a 56-year-old man was shot to death during a SWAT standoff in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Orange Park. Michael Kelly Sword, who had a lengthy criminal history including recent drug and grand theft convictions, barricaded himself inside a home in the 1200 block of Bay Hill Boulevard after deputies convinced four others to leave the residence.

The SWAT team had been serving a narcotics search and arrest warrant for Sword. When SWAT team members entered the home, Sword brandished a weapon and was shot by one or two of the deputies who fired their weapons, Daniels said at the time.

On April 1, a deputy fired a shot at but missed an Orange Park man accused of using his car to strike the deputy during a traffic stop.

William Alexander Gaspard, 29, remained jailed at the Clay County Jail in lieu of $210,019 bail Saturday on multiple charges including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony and resisting an officer with violence, records showed.

Sheriff’s deputies with the agency’s Operation Safe Street Unit stopped a car with a broken taillight, and a drug-detecting police dog alerted indicating deputies should search the car. The Sheriff’s Office said deputies approached and ordered the driver and passenger to get out of the car. The driver – subsequently identified as Gaspard – became argumentative and refused to get out then started the car and drove off, striking the deputy who fired the shot at him, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

In 2016, Clay deputies were involved in three shootings of suspects, two of whom were killed, Times-Union records show.

You can read the Florida Times-Union article here.

Florida Times-Union


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