Deputy Resigns After Fatally Shooting Mentally Ill Man Near Downtown Jail

Investigators say the man was running away when Deputy Aaron Russell, who had been with the department for only 18 months, started shooting


NBC 7 has learned the San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy that opened fire on a mentally ill man who escaped custody last week is no longer with the department.

In a statement, a spokesman for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told NBC 7 that Deputy Aaron Russell tendered his resignation on Wednesday, May 6, five days after the deadly shooting of 36-year-old Nicholas Bils.

Russell, 23, had only been a deputy in San Diego County for 18 months.

Nicholas Bils was running away when a sheriff's deputy shot and killed him last week, reports NBC Investigates' Alexis Rivas.

The San Diego Police Department, which is investigating the shooting, reports that Russell shot and killed Bils just outside the county jail downtown on Friday, May 1. Bils was running away from California State Park rangers who were transporting him to the jail. 

Bils’ mother told NBC 7 her son was a paranoid schizophrenic who was afraid of law enforcement.

She said detectives told her Russell shot her son four times. One bullet grazed his side and three entered his body, including one in his back.

The sheriff’s department has yet to comment on the shooting.

The man escaped custody at the gate of the jail but was shot before he could get away.

To read more about the shooting of Nicholas Bils, click here.

Editor's Note: This story has been revised to report Deputy Russell resigned May 6, not March 6.

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