Richard James Nelson, 54, was arrested after he allegedly shot dead his ex-girlfriend, 38, in a Bob Evans restaurant where she worked
A 54-year-old man has been arrested following an 11-hour manhunt after he allegedly shot dead his ex-girlfriend, 38, in a Bob Evans restaurant where she worked in Ohio.
Richard James Nelson was taken into custody and charged with aggravated murder over the death of Rebecca Jean Rogers Friday morning.
Nelson is accused of shooting and killing Rogers in a ‘domestic incident’ at the restaurant in Canton where she worked as a waitress.
The suspect then went on the run sparking a police manhunt that culminated in his arrest Friday night.
The shooting unfolded at around 9:30 am Friday morning at the restaurant at 3400 Lesh Street Northeast, reported ABC9.
Police said Rogers saw Nelson enter the restaurant with a gun and tried to run away from him down the hallway.
Nelson allegedly started opening fire, shooting the waitress multiple times.
Customers and staff hid under the tables for cover while others ran out of the restaurant.
Police received multiple 911 calls for an active shooter at the restaurant and officers from Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Canton Police Department, and the Stark County Sherriff’s Office arrived on the scene within two minutes.
The officers found Rogers with multiple gun shot wounds and she was rushed to Mercy Hospital where she died from her injuries.
The gunman fled the scene and police identified Nelson as the suspect, saying a warrant was out for his arrest on charges of aggravated murder.
Nelson was considered to be armed and dangerous and the public was warned not to approach him.
Anyone with information as to his whereabouts was urged to call 911.
Nelson remained at large for 11 hours before being arrested at around 8:30 pm Friday night southeast of East Canton.
Police Chief Jack Angelo said a Canton police dog had pursued and stopped the suspect in a foot chase near Route 30 and Neimans Avenue SE, according to CantonRep.com.
Officers from the US Marshals Service, Stark County Sheriff’s Office and an air unit from the Ohio State Highway Patrol all assisted in the manhunt.
Angelo said the shooting was being considered a ‘domestic incident’ as Nelson and Rogers had been in a relationship and had recently broken up.
Richard James Nelson was taken into custody and charged with aggravated murder over the death of Rebecca Jean Rogers Friday morning at the Bob Evans restaurant at 3400 Lesh Street Northeast, Canton (pictured)
Police said the shooting unfolded at around 9:30 am Friday morning when the suspect entered the restaurant and opened fire, shooting the waitress multiple times as customers and staff hid under the tables for cover
‘As tragic as this is, it could’ve been far worse,’ he said.
Around half a dozen customers and six to eight employees were inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting.
In one 911 call, another female staff member at the restaurant is heard telling people to ‘get down, tell them to get down’ during the shooting as staff and customers hid under the tables, reported CantonRep.com.
The woman tells the dispatcher she doesn’t know if anyone has been shot but says she is concerned about her co-worker who she said ran into the back of the restaurant away from the shooter who she said she thought was her boyfriend.
‘We can’t get out. We’re scared,’ the caller says.
In a separate 911 call, a woman said she was with another waitress who can be heard saying the shooter ‘aimed for’ Rogers,’ reported CantonRep.com.
A diner on another 911 call tells a dispatcher they heard four or five gunshots and ran out of the restaurant.
Rogers was taken to hospital but died from her injuries while Nelson went on the run, sparking a police manhunt that culminated in his arrest Friday night. The crime scene above
‘All of us just went running out. There were some older people and my husband just made sure they got out,’ they said.
It is not clear how long Rogers and Nelson had been in a relationship for prior to Friday’s incident.
However, Rogers had contacted police in the past about her boyfriend’s behavior.
In March 2017, Rogers filed a police report after Nelson entered her home and he was charged with stalking by menacing and burglary and taken to the Stark County Jail, according to court records seen by CantonRep.com.
Rogers was later found guilty of filing a false police report in that case, the outlet reported.
Nelson has a long rap sheet including charges of felony assault and domestic violence.
Court records show he was also locked up in 2000 for leading police on car chase in a stolen car before fighting with the arresting officer.