UPDATE: SUSPECT CHARGED;18-Month-Old Dies Overnight in a Shooting in Palm Coast



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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