San Diego police ID man who fatally shot mother, dog in Encanto shooting

While holed up in the house, Jesse Nelson ignored officers' orders and set fire to the garage

Authorities Friday publicly identified a man who was fatally shot by police this week at an Encanto-area home after he allegedly gunned down his mother and two dogs and opened fire on officers.

Jesse Glen Nelson, 43, died at a hospital at about 11 p.m. Monday, according to the county Sheriff's Department, which investigates shootings carried out by personnel with the San Diego Police Department.

Roughly 2 1/2 hours earlier, patrol personnel responding to reports of gunfire at a residence in the 500 block of Iona Drive arrived to find 74- year-old Maria Rosario Morales and a dog lying on a driveway in front of the house, sheriff's Lt. Scott Roller said. Both apparently had suffered gunshot wounds, the lieutenant said.

As the personnel approached the home near Imperial Drive and 60th Street, someone inside shot at them, prompting an officer to return fire, according to police.

"As additional officers arrived, an emergency rescue was performed to extricate the (woman) from the driveway to a position where medical aid could be rendered," Roller said. "During this rescue, the officers once again came under gunfire from ... inside the residence."

Shortly before the suspect was shot, flames and smoke appeared to be rising from the home he was barricaded in, reports NBC 7's Jeanette Quezada.

Despite lifesaving efforts on the part of police and paramedics, Morales died at the scene. The dog also did not survive its wounds.

At that point, police called in a SWAT team to take up positions around the house. While holed up inside, ignoring officers' orders to come outside unarmed and give himself up, Nelson set fire to the garage, the lieutenant said.

Following a several-hour standoff, SDPD Officers Darwin Anderson and Matthew Steinbach opened fire on the suspect, mortally wounding him.

Exactly what took place in the moments just prior to the police shooting remains unclear.

"At this stage of the investigation, the circumstances of the shooting are still under investigation," Roller said Friday. "Detectives are currently gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses and examining the circumstances surrounding the shooting."

It also remained unknown what might have precipitated Nelson's alleged homicidal rampage.

While documenting the scene, officers found a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun, along with a second dead dog that apparently had been shot by Nelson, the lieutenant said.

Anderson has been with the SDPD since September 2021. Steinbach has been a member of the department for 11 years.

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