Adrenaline can make a person do lots of things; finish a marathon, lift heavy items, etc. Or, in the case of Roger Nelson, adrenaline can make a person crash his car into a mall, run inside to rob some shoes, and then pull a semi-automatic handgun on a police officer.
That's allegedly what went down at the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe on Monday -- and the arresting officer is lucky to be alive.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, Nelson crashed his car into a tree on the north side of the mall about 8:30 p.m.
After wrecking his ride, Nelson ran into the mall waving a .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun. He apparently needed some new kicks because he headed straight for the Famous Footwear store.
Once in the store, Nelson picked out two pairs of shoes, took them to the sales counter, and pointed the gun at the assistant manager, telling her to bag 'em up.
Meanwhile, Tempe cops responded to the mall after there were reports that a guy had crashed his car into a tree and was running around waving a gun in the air.
One of the officers took a "perimeter position" on the northwest corner of Priest Drive and Baseline Road, on the south side of the mall. It wasn't too long before he spotted a man who matched the suspect's description. It was Nelson.
The officer approached Nelson and asked him to put his hands on his head. Nelson responded by pointing his gun at the officer and saying "I'm going to shoot you motherfucker."
The officer attempted to grab his service weapon, but was unable to get it out of his holster. So he grabbed the muzzle of Nelson's gun and directed it towards his bullet-proof vest -- in case it fired during the struggle -- as he wrestled it away from from the gun-toting shoe thief.
The officer managed to get the gun from Nelson and placed him under arrest (with a little help from his Taser).
Once in custody, Nelson admitted to the crime spree. He told detectives he did it because he was on an "adrenaline high."
Nelson was booked into a Maricopa County jail on one count of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, one count of aggravated assault on an officer, and one count of armed robbery with a deadly weapon.
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