Suspect in Killing of LA Deputy Could Be Connected to Robbery Series in San Diego - NBC 7 San Diego

Suspect in Killing of LA Deputy Could Be Connected to Robbery Series in San Diego

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    Suspect in Killing of LA Deputy Could Be Connected to Robbery Series in San Diego

    NBC 7's Artie Ojeda details what investigators think Rhett Nelson has been up to in San Diego since he was reported missing in Utah last month. (Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019)

    San Diego authorities are trying to figure out if the man accused of shooting and killing an off-duty LA County deputy standing in line at a Southern California Jack in the Box is a suspect in a series of armed robberies this month in San Diego County. 

    Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano was shot while at the counter of a Jack in the Box restaurant at 2531 W. Valley Blvd. in Alhambra around 5:45 p.m. Monday. Sheriff's officials believe it was a random attack.

    Rhett McKenzie Nelson, 30, of Utah, was arrested Tuesday after a short police chase in Long Beach.

    The San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, and Carlsbad Police Department say they are working with the LA County Sheriff's Department to determined if Nelson is a suspect in any of the following incidents:

    June 7 at approximately 11 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 4205 Voltaire Street in San Diego:

    • A man entered the store, showed a handgun and robbed the clerk of an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect left the location prior to the arrival of SDPD officers.

    June 7 at approximately 11:55 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 3185 Midway Drive in San Diego:

    • The suspect threatened the clerk with a handgun and took an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect left prior to the arrival of SDPD officers.

    June 8 at approximately 6:10 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 7607 Broadway in Lemon Grove:

    June 8 at approximately 10:45 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 1702 Gateway Drive in San Diego:

    • The suspect produced a handgun and attempted to rob the clerk of money but left the location empty handed. The suspect left the location prior to the arrival of SDPD officers.

    June 9 at approximately 2:25 a.m. at a Circle K at 7602 El Camino Real in Carlsbad:

     

    • The man produced a handgun and robbed the clerk of an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect left location prior to the arrival CPD officers.

     

    Nelson is from St. George Utah. His family reported him missing last month. A flyer posted to social media on May 30 said Nelson has a history of opiate abuse but had been clean for six months prior to his disappearance.

    It is not yet clear what brought Nelson to California.

    Jack in the Box security cameras recorded the shooting and a man believed to be Nelson leaving the scene.

    According to Los Angeles investigators, Nelson called his father and confessed to the shooting. His father then called police.

    Nelson is also suspected in a fatal shooting in Central Los Angeles.

    Solano's death was announced by his family Wednesday evening at a news conference.

    His son, Matthew, struggled to keep his composure through tears while talking at the podium."

    "Unfortunately, we lost him," he said. "He was a really good dad."

    Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that investigators believe Nelson is the sole suspect in the "brazen and senseless," attack.

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