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Wounded man transferred to county lockup

| January 5, 2006 11:00 PM

A man wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a Eureka police officer on Dec. 18 was transferred Wednesday from a Kalispell hospital to the Lincoln County jail.

Mark Nelson, 55, has been charged with attempted deliberate homicide and two counts each of assault on a peace officer and assault with a weapon. He is being held on $250,000 bond along with his daughter, Jennifer Nelson, 24, and her boyfriend, Christopher Showen, 25. All three were involved in the Dec. 18 incident that led to the shooting.

The incident began with an apparent disturbance centering on Jennifer Nelson at the Eureka VFW club around 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, during which Jennifer Nelson is alleged to have used profane and abusive language and to have fought with the law enforcement officers who arrested her. Nelson's father and Showen, who were also present, were initially cited for disorderly conduct and released from custody after about an hour. Over the course of that hour, Jennifer Nelson remained in custody at the Eureka police station pending transport for a mental health evaluation. She continued to spit at officers and threaten to kill them and family members, court documents contend.

According to charges filed in district court, Mark Nelson returned to the station with a shotgun about 20 minutes after his release from custody and entered through a side door that had been opened for an ambulance crew preparing to transport his daughter. Nelson is accused of pointing the gun at ambulance crew members and demanding his daughter's release.

Nelson fired a single round of buckshot at Eureka police officer Ian Jeffcock after Jeffcock, standing in a doorway leading to another room, commanded him to back away, the charges contend. Jeffcock, who wasn't hit, fired five rounds and hit Nelson once in the abdomen and twice in the thigh. A second round from Nelson's gun also missed Jeffock.

Shortly after the shooting, officers found Showen sitting in the front passenger seat of a car that was parked, with the motor running, near the police station. He was taken into custody without incident. According to court documents, officers found a loaded handgun, shotgun and hunting rifle within Showen's reach along with 15 to 20 shotgun rounds and 50 to 100 handgun rounds on his person.

Jennifer Nelson was charged with two felony counts of assault on a peace officer, one felony count of making a threat in official manners, and a misdemeanor count of assault with bodily fluids.

Showen is charged with conspiracy to commit assault with a weapon along with tampering with evidence for allegedly spitting on blood on the floor of the police station after he was taken into custody.