Jeffrey Nicholas is the man accused of killing two Concho County Sheriff’s Deputies and injuring an Eden City employee dispatched to speak with him about a dog complaint, according to a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The two deputies were accompanied by an Eden City employee when they arrived at Nicholas’ home at about 8:40 p.m. Monday, May 10. Officials said in a statement released Tuesday morning, May 11, that the situation quickly turned violent, saying “an altercation occurred which quickly escalated to gunfire.”
The deputies were identified as Sgt. Stephen Jones, 34, and Deputy Samuel Leonard, 26. They were both married fathers with young children. Jones had five children and would have celebrated his 16-year wedding anniversary in less than three weeks. Leonard had a little girl named Magnolia. He was married in 2017. The Concho County Sheriff’s Office is collecting donations for the families of both deputies, they wrote in a Facebook post.
Neighbors told San Angelo Live they witnessed police telling Nicholas to get out of his vehicle before he fled and allegedly opened fire. The Eden City employee suffered critical injuries.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nicholas Surrendered to the Eden City Mayor, a Neighbor, & Witnesses Recounted the Police Chase, Standoff & Shooting Scene to Local Reporters
Eden City Mayor Pete Torres was among the eyewitnesses to the deadly shooting and convinced Nicholas to surrender after about 30 minutes barricaded in his home, according to San Angelo Live. Torres lives around the corner from the crime scene, the news station reported.
Several witnesses recounted the scene to the news outlet. One witness said the deadly situation began when officers conducted a traffic stop on Nicholas near his home. A witness told the news station they heard police say “Roll your window down and then put up your hands.” The witness said the driver fled, running into his home nearby.
It didn’t take long for the incident to turn fatal. The witness told the news outlet they heard nine or 10 gunshots with “people shooting back and forth.”
Another witness reported hearing the suspect yelling “Those aren’t my dogs. You are always harassing me and tasing me,” according to San Angelo Live.
Nicholas then shouted about his Constitutional Rights, witnesses told the news outlet.
Neighbors told reporters there are six dogs in the neighborhood “that are vicious that control the neighborhood.”
Residents throughout the small town changed their profile pictures to honor the fallen officers.
2. Nicholas Was Arrested & Jailed on a $4 Million Bond, the Tom Green County Jail Roster Shows
Nicholas, 28, was arrested by Texas Rangers and booked into the Tom Green County Jail at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday, May 11, 2021, according to the county’s jail roster. He faces two counts of capital murder of a peace officer. Nicholas’ bail is set at $4 million. His bail is set at $2 million for each count of capital murder.
Here is his booking information:
Texas Rangers are leading the investigation. Officials said in their statement additional information would be released throughout the course of their investigation.
3. Officials Said Nicholas Barricaded Himself in His Eden City Home After a Brief Pursuit
Concho Valley Homepage reported Nicholas was involved in a brief pursuit before he barricaded himself in a house, and later allegedly opened fire. Officials were called to the 100 block of Bryan Street for a dog complaint, they said in a statement.
KHAN reported the injured Eden City employee is being treated at Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo. KXTS reported that person was shot in the stomach. The names of the victims have not been released.
Officials did not mention the brief police pursuit or barricade situation in their initial statement. KXAN reported the shooting occurred very close to Eden High School. Eden is about 160 miles from Austin and about 210 miles southwest of Dallas. It has a population of about 1,300 people.
4. The Bodies of the Fallen Deputies Were Escorted in a Procession & Fellow Police Officers Mourned The Loss
Fellow police officers mourned the loss of the two fallen Concho County sheriff’s deputies, writing condolences on their social media pages. You can watch a video of the full procession here.
“We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Concho County Sherriff Department on the loss of two of their deputies in the line of duty Monday evening,” the Lubbock Police Department wrote on Twitter.
Lubbock Police Department organized a procession to escort the bodies of the officers. Video of the procession showed a long line of emergency vehicles escorting the bodies.
“The Lubbock Police Department is heartbroken at the loss of two Concho County Sheriff’s Deputies who were killed in the line of duty Monday evening,” they wrote.
Lubbock Police shared details of the route and asked the public to “lift up the families, both blood and blue, of these two heroes.”
“When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation,” Officer Down Memorial Page Founder Chris Cosgriff wrote on the website.
The Officer Down Memorial Page said there have been 124 officers killed in the line of duty in 2021.
“Please pray for the families and friends of the two Concho County Deputies who were shot and killed in the line of duty last evening,” the National Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Concho County Sheriff’s Office.”
A candlelight vigil was also scheduled for the fallen officers at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, in Eden. Attendees were asked to wear blue in honor of law enforcement.
5. Texas Governor Greg Abbott Made a Statement on the ‘Terrible Loss’ & Said it Was a ‘Reminder of the Risks’ Officers Face
Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his sympathy to the loved ones of the fallen deputies in a statement, calling it a “terrible loss.” He said the shooting was a reminder of the risks that law enforcement officers face every day.
His statement said:
Our hearts go out to the family & friends of 2 Concho County Sheriff’s deputies who were killed in the line of duty last night.
This terrible loss is a solemn reminder of the risks our brave law enforcement officers face while protecting our communities.
George P. Bush also shared his condolences in a statement on Twitter.
“Last night, we lost two Concho County Sheriff’s Deputies in the line of duty,” he wrote. “These brave officers laid down their lives in order to keep us safe. We will NEVER forget their sacrifice, and we will make sure their lives and service are honored.”
Congressman United States Congressman August Pfluger also made a statement on the House floor in the aftermath of the shooting.
“We will never stop honoring their legacy,” he said in a statement, and asked Americans to appreciate their law enforcement officers and pray for them.
He also posted on Facebook, writing:
This week is #NationalPoliceWeek, and Concho County knows all too well the importance of police officers. Today, I spoke on the House floor honoring the legacy and service of the two Concho County officers who were killed last night in the line of duty. These officers died protecting their community to the very end—defending the freedoms, values, safety our country holds dearly. We stand with the all Concho County law enforcement officers mourning the loss of these heroes.
The Concho County Hospital also made a statement on the deaths of the deputies and injured Eden City employee.
“On behalf of Concho County Hospital and Concho Medical Clinic, we extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones and fellow colleagues of our two Concho County Sheriff Deputies who bravely gave their lives in the line of duty,” the statement said. “This tragedy is another solemn reminder of the risk the men and women of law enforcement take every day when they put on their uniform and badge. Our Deputies will never be forgotten by a grateful community. Godspeed, and peace to their families, their many friends, and all first-responders. We also send out prayers to the Eden City Worker who was seriously wounded during the fray and wish him a speedy recovery.”