LocationAlhambra , CA
A Utah man was arrested Tuesday afternoon as the suspected triggerman in the shooting an off-duty L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy at a Jack in the Box Restaurant in Alhambra.
Rhett McKenzie Nelson of St. George, Utah was arrested in the shooting of Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Deputy Solano’s name had previously not been released. He remains in very critical condition and is reported to be on life support at County/USC Medical Center.
Nelson, 30, was taken into custody by Long Beach Police around 1 p.m. Tuesday, after he reportedly telephoned his father in Utah from a nearby church and referred to “committing murder,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Capt. Kent Wegener told the Los Angeles Times.
According to KTLA news, a handgun believed to have been used in the shooting of the deputy was found in Nelson’s vehicle.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department is looking at Nelson as the possible suspect in the shooting death of a 30-year-old man in the 1900 block of 7th Place in downtown Los Angeles. That incident came just an hour or so before Deputy Solano was shot in the head, apparently from behind, as he waited for his food order at the Jack in the Box in Alhambra.
Solano, 50, a 13-year-veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, was in civilian attire at the time he was shot and was not displaying anything that would identify him as a member of law enforcement.
A motive for the shooting remains unclear.
According to the Times, court records showed that Nelson had been arrested for drug offense on multiple occasions in Utah.