UPDATED: Winter Park town manager facing felony charges after domestic dispute
UPDATE 2 p.m. Tuesday: Grand County Judge Nicholas Catanzarite set bond at $500 in cash for Nelson, who appeared in a Grand County courtroom Tuesday afternoon for his initial appearance.
Catanzarite issued a mandatory protection order prohibiting Nelson from contacting his wife and would have to arrange through a third-party to visit his two children. He is also prohibited from ingesting alcohol or any other controlled substances, and will undergo testing twice weekly.
The judge also required Nelson to relinquish any firearms he owns and was prohibited from acquiring any others.
Nelson will return to court at 9 a.m. Feb. 5.
Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson was arrested Monday night following a domestic dispute with his wife at his residence in Winter Park, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
Nelson, 40, who is scheduled for his initial court appearance at 1 p.m. Tuesday, reportedly shot off several rounds from a firearm and made multiple threats against his wife with a weapon, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday morning in Grand County District Court. He is being charged with felony menacing, domestic violence, prohibited use of weapons and reckless endangerment.
Winter Park Human Resources Director Bill Wengert told Sky-Hi News that the town has placed Nelson on administrative leave pending an investigation into the circumstances of his arrest, but could not comment further.
Deputies from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office responded at about 9:50 p.m. Monday to Nelson’s home in Winter Park after receiving report of a family disturbance. Nelson’s wife told officers that her husband — referred to as Andrew in the affidavit — and she had been having marital problems, and that Nelson smashed a trashcan in the garage the night before in response to those issues.
On Monday morning, Nelson’s wife went to work, while Nelson stayed home drinking, according to the affidavit. They met at a bar at about 5 p.m. and returned home together.
Nelson was “very intoxicated,” according to his wife’s report to police. She told law enforcement that she was upstairs folding laundry at about 8 p.m. when she heard several gunshots from the rear porch of the residence. Upon investigating, she found Nelson coming inside with a .45-caliber handgun.
Nelson’s wife took the firearm away from him, and took it to the laundry room. Shortly after Nelson allegedly came up the stairs and cornered his wife in the laundry room with a sledgehammer. Nelson was reportedly “provoking her to make a move against him so he would have an excuse to hit her with the hammer,” according to the affidavit.
Nelson’s wife was able to get the hammer away from him, and left to a neighbor’s house with the hammer and gun. There were two children in Nelson’s home at the time of the incident.
When questioned by law enforcement, Nelson confirmed his wife’s story regarding the sledgehammer and the trashcan the previous night, and admitted to spending the day drinking. Though he went on to say he didn’t remember anything that happened after he arrived home from the bar with his wife earlier in the day, nor did he recall having or shooting the handgun.
Sgt. Jim Ellison of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office questioned Nelson about the incident with the sledgehammer, at which point Nelson was verbally abusive, according to the affidavit. Ellison also noted that Nelson smelled of alcohol, had watery and bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and difficulty walking.
Law enforcement recovered eight empty handgun casings from behind the rear porch, and a live round from the kitchen floor. The handgun and sledgehammer were recovered from a neighbor’s home. Officers were unable to determine in which direction Nelson fired the shots, but said the house was located in a residential area, with no safe direction to fire the weapon.
Nelson was placed under arrest and transported to the Grand County Jail pending his hearing Tuesday.
This is a developing story. Sky-Hi News will continue to update it as details emerge.
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