Shooting suspect is wounded war veteran

Shooting suspect is wounded war veteran

Credit: Ada County Jail

George Nickel Jr., 38, of Boise, is charged with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling.



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 12:23 PM

Suspect suffered brain injury in Iraq war

BOISE -- George Nickel Jr. is in Ada County Jail charged with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm.

Police say the 38-year-old Iraq war veteran shot the doors of two apartments in a complex near the intersection of Vista Avenue and Canal Street on Tuesday night as he was frantically searching for his dog.

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson says when police arrived they repeatedly asked Nickel to put down his handgun and rifle.

Masterson says Nickel did not put down the weapons and that's when four officers fired a total of 12 rounds.

No one was injured, including Nickel who took cover before surrendering.

"This is very bizarre behavoir, I don't know how to rationalize it over a lost dog, i don't know what would push people to that type of desperation. We will have more details as the investigation progresses," Masterson said.

On July 4, 2007, Staff Sgt. Nickel returned home alongside Sgt. 1st Class Ian Freeman, another injured Idaho soldier from the 321st Engineer Battalion.

Freeman did not want to go on camera but says he was shocked to learn his fellow comrade is now the suspect in a police involved shooting.

Freeman describes Nickel as a gentle man and a professional soldier.

He says Nickel survived a roadside bomb blast while in Iraq that killed three soldiers from Idaho.

Nickel received serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury.

Freeman was also injured in a different roadside bomb explosion and spent months recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center with Nickel.

Freeman says Nickel obviously endured horror overseas, having survived an explosion that killed three of his fellow Idahoans.

He says he has heard that Nickel was being treated for post traumatic stress disorder and that he's sure Nickel would never try to hurt anyone.

Freeman says his heart goes out to everyone involved in Tuesday night's shooting, something that left him in disbelief after learning the suspect was a fellow war veteran.

Nickel is also a sergeant at the Idaho Department of Correction. He has worked there for 12 years.

An IDOC spokesperson says he has been placed on administrative leave following Tuesday's shooting incident.