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Man Arrested in Off-Duty LA County Deputy Shooting

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Man Arrested in Off-Duty Deputy Shooting, Sources SayLASD
Off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano, 50, was shot in the head while waiting for food at an Alhambra Jack in the Box on June 10, 2019.

The man suspected of shooting an off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy at a fast food restaurant in Alhambra confessed to his father, who in turn notified police, authorities said Tuesday.

The suspect, 30-year-old Rhett McKenzie Nelson of Utah, was taken into custody in Long Beach after a brief car chase early Tuesday, the LA County Sheriff's Department said.

Nelson's appearance and vehicle matched video recordings made at the Jack in the Box restaurant where deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano was attacked late Monday. Nelson was booked at the sheriff's Lakewood station and was being held in lieu of $2-million bail, according to jail records.

Suspect Arrested for Shooting Deputy in the Head

[LA STRINGER] Suspect Arrested for Shooting Deputy in the Head

Solano, 50, is a 13-year veteran of the LA County Sheriff's Department and was said to be in grave condition.

Deputy Shot in Head on Life Support, Arrest Made

[LA STRINGER] Deputy Shot in Head on Life Support, Arrest Made

"Always willing to help others before himself, had a bright smile, a very positive individual," Sheriff Alex Villanueva described the deputy Tuesday. "Everybody likes working with him, so we're all rooting for him to make a recovery."

At a news conference late Tuesday, LASD's Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said a gun that appears to match the one used in the shooting and clothing Nelson allegedly wore at the time were found in Nelson's car.

Detectives were also investigating whether Nelson was responsible for other crimes Monday, including a shooting in the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Division, officials said.

Exclusive Video Before Arrest of Man in Deputy Shooting

[LASTRINGER] Exclusive Video Before Arrest of Man in Deputy Shooting

Solano was out of uniform and off-duty when he was shot around 5:45 p.m. Monday while inside the restaurant in the 2500 block of West Valley Blvd.

The attack was recorded by the restaurant's security cameras. Wegener said the video showed Solano inside the restaurant waiting for food when the attacker entered and shot the deputy in the head.

Investigators released these surveillance images in connection with the shooting of an off-duty LA sheriff's deputy on Monday, June 10, 2019 in Alhambra, California.
Photo credit: LASD

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477) or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

NBC4 Jamie Bankson and Shahan Ahmed contributed to this report.