UPDATE: NELSON SR CHARGED: Suspect Charged;18-Month-Old Dies Overnight in a Shooting in Palm Coast




Today, January 8th, 2024, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly provided a case update. Staly provided a recap of the case and incident where the shooting of an 18 month old child was shot, and later died at the hospital. Staly stated that Carl Nelson Sr, was called to the scene immediately after the shooting. Nelson Sr took the firearm from Nelson Jr., with a t-shirt to prevent fingerprints. Nelson Sr also advised Nelson Jr. to shower at a separate residence in the P Section where they relocated to after the shooting while other family members were at the hospital with the child.


Nelson Sr was arrested on January 5th, 2024, but with a low bond of $15,000, he has since posted his bond and has been released. Staly is working with the District Attorney to have bond revocation, as Staly believes that Nelson Sr is a threat to members of the FCSO as well as witnesses. Nelson Sr. was charged with two counts of Tampering with Evidence and two counts of Lying to Authorities, which are both level 3 authorities.


Detective Gordon stated that the entire family is confused on how to feel. When asked if there are other family members being looked at, Gordon stated she would prefer not to comment. Staly reiterated that this investigation is not over yet and is still ongoing.


Today, November 16th, 2023, at 2:15pm, Sheriff Stay and State Attorney R.J. Larizza held a press conference updating the media and the public on the case. Staly recapped the case highlighting details. They noted there was a blood trail leading to the shower, and multiple people moving about in the home. Everyone gave conflicting statements regarding the incident.


During a search, illegal narcotics and a pistol was recovered. The FCSO spent two months of investigating, using every investigative tool available. The mother was going to take a shower but stated the water was too hot, so she was playing with the child in the hallway.  CJ Nelson Jr. was high and playing with the firearm, it discharged through a wall, and the bullet struck the 18month old in the head.

The case was turned over to the state attorney and yesterday he was charged with Manslaughter with a Firearm. He was on probation during the time of the shooting and was not supposed to be in possession of any firearm or drugs.

State Attorney Larizza, explained the charge and the punishment Nelson Jr. will face if he is convicted. Larizza explained, “I encourage folks with firearms, to please don’t handle guns and intoxicants together. They make a deadly combination and you will be held accountable.”


No one else has been charged at this point, but the investigation is still continuing. The sheriff has suspects, if they can build a case, regarding the attempt to cover up evidence.

Nelson is the uncle of the victim, he is also the owner of the firearm. Currently when he was served with the arrest warrant he denied even being at the residence.


Around 11:45 pm on September 3, 2023, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence on Rainwood Lane in Palm Coast after FCSO Communications received a frantic 911 call reporting a baby had been shot.

Upon arrival, deputies located an 18-month-old female with a gunshot wound to the head. The child was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

Major Case Unit detectives are still actively gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses. No arrests have been made at this time. This death may have been accidental; however, the investigation is still active and ongoing with the assistance of FDLE’s Crime Scene Investigators.

“This is a tragic situation, and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of this little girl. This was a young life cut way too short,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “While God has a new little angel, we will investigate this incident along with the State Attorney’s Office Homicide Investigation Unit until all facts are known. There is no threat to the community. The incident was contained inside this residence and all persons present or involved have been identified.”

During a press conference, Sheriff Staly stated that eight people were inside the home at the time of the shooting. Found in the home were 420 grams of marijuana and 11 grams of white powdery substance believed to either be cocaine or heroine. A person of interest was identified as 21-year-old C.J. Nelson, who was arrested for violation of probation. He was on probation for a gun related crime and was not supposed to be in possession of a gun.

FCSO will provide more information when possible.

By Kim Hunt

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