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Life Prison Sentence For Firing Three Shots At A DPS Trooper

Photo of Charles Wayne Nelson from jailsearch.brazoscountytx.gov/JailSearch/default.aspx

A Brazos County district court jury takes 45 minutes to convict a Caldwell man of firing a gun at a DPS trooper in College Station almost two years ago.

Then the trial judge ordered 34 year old Charles Wayne Nelson to serve the maximum punishment, life in prison, for the aggravated assault against a public servant.

Nelson, who was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over for an obstructed license plate, fired three shots at the trooper. The trooper was not hit by the gunfire.

According to the district attorney’s office, Nelson leaned across the now-empty driver’s seat and pressed the gas pedal with his hand, causing the car to leave the scene and nearly running over the driver who had jumped out.

The car crashed a short time later, and Nelson eluded a manhunt for two hours before being found at night from troopers in a helicopter.

Nelson will have to serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.

From the Brazos County district attorney’s office:

A Brazos County jury convicted Charles Nelson, 34, of Bryan, of Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant. Today, 361st District Judge Steve Smith sentenced Nelson to Life in prison.

Just after midnight on March 21, 2017, DPS Trooper Justin Ferguson noticed a car travelling North on Highway 6 in College Station with an obstructed license plate. Trooper Ferguson made a traffic stop on the car, which pulled onto Horse Haven Drive, in between Academy Sports and Gander Mountain.

As Trooper Ferguson approached the passenger door of the car, Nelson, who was seated in the passenger seat, fired a shot from a .40 handgun through the passenger window directly at Trooper Ferguson’s face. The shot missed Ferguson by inches. As Trooper Ferguson ran back to his patrol car, Nelson fired again through the passenger window.

Immediately after Nelson’s first shot, the car’s driver, Michael Lott, jumped out of the car and laid down on the street to surrender. Trooper Ferguson, who retreated behind his patrol car, returned fire toward Nelson’s seat.

Despite numerous bullets striking all around him, Nelson was not hit by the Trooper’s gunfire. During the exchange of gunfire, Nelson fired a total of three shots at the Trooper.

After the initial gunfight, Nelson leaned across the now-empty driver’s seat and pressed the gas pedal with his hand, causing thecar to speed away from Trooper Ferguson, and nearly running over Lott, who was still laying in the street.

Trooper Ferguson, concerned that Nelson would reach a nearby residential area, fired more shots at the fleeing car. The car went out of control in between Gander Mountain and Academy and ultimately came to rest along the North Wall of the Academy building.

Nelson, who was not injured, fled the car on foot and concealed himself in a nearby marsh. Police officers from College Station, Bryan, and DPS quickly responded and sealed off a perimeter
around the area.

Approximately two hours after the shooting, a DPS helicopter from Austin located Nelson in the marsh by using an infared camera system. A team of officers from the three different police
agencies waded into the marsh and arrested Nelson.

Investigators later learned that prior to fleeing in the car, Nelson dropped his gun out of the open driver’s door. The gun was located on the street.

Michael Lott cooperated fully with law enforcement and explained that Nelson, who was on parole at the time, said he “was not going back to prison” after he saw Trooper Ferguson pulling
the car over.

Texas Ranger Josh Ray, working in conjunction with the FBI, learned that Nelson purchased the gun from an associate three days before the shooting in exchange for drugs.

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Posted by on Feb 8 2019. Filed under Featured Stories, Local News for Newsletter, News.
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