ALHAMBRA—Rhett McKenzie Nelson, 30, of St. George, Utah has been charged in the murder of veteran Sheriff Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano. Solano was waiting for his meal at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Alhambra on Monday, June 10 when he was shot in the head.
Solano spent three days in critical condition until Wednesday, June 12, when he was taken off life support.
Nelson was due in court on June 13. He was taken into police custody in Long Beach on Tuesday, June 11 and was not eligible for parole based on county inmate records. The suspect allegedly shot the off-duty deputy while he stood at the counter awaiting his meal.
Nelson is also a suspect in several other crimes including the murder of a Dmitry Alekseyevich Kolstov, 30, who was killed in downtown Los Angeles approximately an hour before the murder of Solano on June 10.
Charges against Nelson include two counts of murder; one related to Solano and the other related to Kolstov. He is also charged with one count of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted murder.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reported that case BA478606 includes special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle as well as allegations of using a handgun in the commission of the crimes.
Hours after shooting Solano, Nelson committed two robberies in Long Beach, one at a Shell gas station and the other at a 7-Eleven.
If convicted as charged, Nelson faces a possible maximum sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. A decision about whether to seek capital punishment will be made at a later date.
Authorities in San Diego are investigating if Nelson is guilty of five armed robberies that transpired at several convenience stores over the weekend. The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.