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Bodycam, Surveillance Video Released In Fatal Milpitas Police Shootout; Officer Opened Fire 1st

MILPITAS (CBS SF) -- Milpitas police released officer bodycam and surveillance video Friday of a shocking daytime shootout with a stolen vehicle suspect in a busy shopping center parking lot, and acknowledged the initial police report that the suspect initiated the gun battle was incorrect.

The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Michael Edward Nelson Jr. of Healdsburg, died of his gunshot injuries four days after the October 15 shooting. Milpitas police said detectives initiated an enforcement stop of a stolen vehicle that was parked in the Milpitas Square shopping center on the 400 block of Barber Lane at 3:41 p.m.

Police reported Nelson exited his vehicle, looked at officers, re-entered his vehicle and exited again against officers' orders armed with a gun. At the time, Milpitas police said detectives fired their weapons in response to Nelson shooting first.

On Friday, Milpitas police said it has since learned a detective fired first at Nelson when Nelson had emerged armed with a gun.

Milpitas police shootout
Surveillance and police body cam images of a shooting in the parking lot of a Milpitas shopping center, October 15, 2021. (Milpitas Police Department)

The surveillance video released Friday shows how detectives in several non-marked vehicles swooped up to box Nelson on three sides against another parked car, then ordering him to show his hands. After Nelson emerged with the gun and one detective opened fire on him, 25 seconds pass before Nelson then returned fire. The shooting continued between police and Nelson, who appeared to reload his gun at least once.

Milpitas PD video of October 15, 2021 officer-involved shooting. WARNING: Graphic Video, Disturbing Images

The body cam video also released shows the perspective of two of the detectives during the exchange of gunfire, but not that of the officer who first opened fire.

After the gunfire subsided, some 45 minutes pass before officers were able to approach the vehicle close enough to visually determine he was no longer a threat. Nelson sustained was pulled out of the vehicle and officers provided first aid until paramedics took over and took him to a local hospital for treatment. An unregistered handgun and extended magazines were recovered at the scene.

There were no officers or bystanders who were injured in the incident.

Milpitas police said the investigation remained active, while the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is conducting an independent investigation of the shooting. The department was also conducting an administrative review of the event.

Anyone with relevant information on the case was asked to contact the Milpitas Police Department at (408) 586-2400. Those wishing to provide information anonymously can call (408) 586-2500 or submit the information online at

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