Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Former Richardson County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Nincehelser

Scene of the non-crime. OK crime scene, but not the one the Deputy claimed. (courtesy

“In a news release issued [on the day of the incident], the Richardson County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Nincehelser saw a car stopped on the rural road and approached to offer aid,” reports. “He was trying to talk to the driver when the person behind the wheel produced a semi-automatic pistol and fired several shots at him. Nincehelser returned fire and then got back into his cruiser and chased the car as it sped away. The sheriff’s office said the chase ended within a few miles because Nincehelser couldn’t see adequately through his windshield, which had been shattered by at least three bullets.” In fact . . .

Friday’s release said that Nincehelser told Nebraska State Patrol investigators that he had, in fact, not been shot by someone, but had accidentally shot himself in the arm. He also said that he fired several shots into his patrol vehicle to make it seem like he had been shot at.

Lesson to be learned: if you create a negligent discharge, don’t try to cover it up. Even if you’re a cop. Unless you’re angling for an Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day Award. Which Deputy Nincehelser will be free to admire as he thanks his deity that he’s not on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars worth of police man-hours spent seeking his fictional assailant.


  1. avatar John Doe says:

    Why the heck would you stage a shooting!? Well, he got what he deserves, at least. An Irresponsible Gun Owner Of The Day award, he lost his job, and a bullet in the arm as the icing on the cake.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Not so far. He should be charged and in jail.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        I’d rather see him out working (but not any job with a gun) so he can reimburse the taxpayers for the costs of the investigation than in prison providing a further burden on the tax payers.

        But I’m a firm believer that any non-violent convict should get an ankle monitor, a parole officer, and a bill to pay restitution to his victim(s) that cannot be negated by bankruptcy, or any other means, while he lives.

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          The story did say he was arrested, so there’s hope for the system yet. We’ll see what kind of punishment he gets, and how it compares to what a non-cop would receive for the same offenses.

  2. avatar rammerjammer says:

    You can’t blame the guy. He thought he saw a dog.

  3. avatar Joe R. says:

    God help him though, right? God help his County. I’m sure his family and County are relieved. St. Michael protect all those who work to protect. +

  4. avatar cuzwhat says:

    He made it home safe, tho….right?

    That’s what’s really important here.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Not exactly. He WAS shot.

  5. avatar Taylor TX says:

    So I imagine protocol would have been to call in that he was stopping a vehicle right? or at least radio dispatch?

    “All of the sudden I was pulling over a non existent car I didnt call in and someone shot me, which I also didnt call in, until after chasing them for 3 miles with no problem, and then giving up” 🙂 This is a good IOTD imo.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      It doesn’t work that way everywhere.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    This is a mite confusion’. Why did officer Joshua think to shoot his windshield? Couldn’t josh have told them his gun ( glock brand glock?) accidentally just “went off ” by itself? LOL

  7. avatar Independent George says:

    Isn’t that more or less what Roland Przybylewski did on The Wire? Except for the part about shooting himself in the arm. So this guy is actually even worse than Prezbo.

    1. avatar Fler says:

      “Omar comin’!”

  8. avatar John Doe says:

    Never really watched the Wire, but seriously, this guy even chased an imaginary car for three miles! You would think that with all this trouble he went through maybe he really thought there was someone. If that’s the case, I feel sorry for the guy.

  9. avatar Sergio says:

    I can’t even imagine how his derailed train of thought figured this lie was a good idea.

  10. avatar Pascal says:

    I don’t understand, what is the worse thing that could have happened to him if he just admitted he shot himself? Society has created an environment where it is better to lie than to admit fault. I blame the “no tolerance” BS meme.

    1. avatar Nice Views says:

      Personally I don’t want there to be any societal tolerance of law enforcers that negligently shoot themselves in the arm.

  11. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Why is he “irresponsible” vs being an “idiot” ? Is there a distinction in the categories award? Did the award name and I missed the announcement?

    I guess I should be glad that he didn’t say it was 3 Black guys in a stolen car and the county chasing and pulling folk over to toss their vehicle

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      It turns out it was some Puerto Rican guy.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Irresponsible for shooting himself accidentally. Idiot for lying. Irresponsible again for not realizing that his lie could have been part of getting someone killed. Maybe another deputy driving to his aid, for example.

  12. avatar Jay1987 says:

    how exactly does one shoot themselves in the arm??

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      Cross-draw shoulder holster?

    2. avatar MacBeth51 says:

      You gotta try real hard

  13. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    BTW – I am sure every criminal he arrested is making an appeal based upon the (former) deputy’s documented lack of veracity and falsifying evidence. Good job pinhead. No protective custody for you.

  14. avatar great unknown says:

    a) whatever he saved on not being responsible for an unnecessary investigation, he may be liable for for damaging a police vehicle

    b) dollars to doughnuts he didn’t admit it originally because he was drunk

  15. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how you can shoot yourself in the arm, accidently. An ND that hits your leg, or buttocks, or even the groin area, I can visualize. But how do you shoot yourself in the arm?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Just pull the trigger when the muzzle is pointing at your arm. It’s actually quite simple.

  16. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Your tax dollars, so very hard at work.

    1. avatar Don says:

      Yup. Sounds like a work related disability followed by lifetime payments from the taxpayers to me.:)
      Just kidding but keep watching. it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened like that.

  17. avatar GunTotinDem says:

    Gun twirling. Probably the only way to get the barrel pointed at your arm. Or maybe ricochet. But I’m betting officer fancy pants

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I’m thinking he didn’t want to be a cop anymore, and said to himself, “How can I get a service related disability?”

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      I’m thinking he didn’t want to be a cop anymore, and said to himself, “How do I get a service related disability?”

  18. avatar DD says:

    Obviously he wasn’t slick enough to use a personally owned weapon when shooting at his cruiser, loaded with gloves on of course, changed out for larger shoes and having bricks in pockets and wild angle of shots fired left handed from the soft shoulder of the road near recent tire tracks in a desolate area then said he was shielding his face from flying glass when he fired back resulting in a shot through his own arm. Not that I’ve ever done that.

  19. avatar Shire-man says:

    Hasnt he learned that just claiming “it just went off” is more than enough to keep out of trouble?

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Exactly. With only one shot fired, the department and the press will blame the gun and let the negligent shooter off the hook, if and only if the shooter was issued a badge before the shooting: “It is not known why the gun discharged into Deputy Nincehelser’s arm.”

  20. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    One retired guy I know put a 12 gauge hole in the roof of his patrol car. Ruined a good light bar.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I hope the retirement was immediately after, and a result of, that incident.

  21. avatar Full Cleveland says:

    I recommend a career change. Maybe something in the federal government where he doesn’t need to be accountable.

  22. avatar Accur81 says:

    He’s a victim of his own gun violence. Good riddance.

    There was a staged school police shooting under similar circumstances a while ago in my neck of the concrete jungle. That individual was summarily terminated.

    I’d also like to reiterate that incidents such as these highlight why we should not allow exemptions for police in their selection of firearms or how they are treated when they commit crimes.

  23. avatar FedUp says:

    By: Lori Dougovito Email
    Posted: Fri 4:22 PM, Apr 27, 2007
    Former Eaton County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jeff Lutz will spend 60 days in jail and five years on probation. He was facing up to four years in prison.

    Lutz was found guilty of two felonies and two misdemeanors last month stemming from the March 2006 incident in which he claimed a black man shot him. Investigators say Lutz shot himself and blamed a fictitious black man.

    After his sentencing Friday morning, Jeff Lutz told News Ten he just wants to move forward with his life. “My family has suffered, I have suffered and most importantly, the community has suffered. I’m just trying to restart my life. I’ve been thrown down to ground zero,” he said.

    Lutz was sentenced to 60 days in the Eaton County Jail; he is eligible for work release and five years probation. Lutz himself asked the judge to up his community service hours. He will serve 400 and he’ll have to pay approximately $47,000 in restitution to Eaton County and other agencies.

    Lutz says he shouldn’t have been on the job, that he was and still is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He says he’s been suffering from it since the night in 2004 he accidentally shot a pregnant waitress who was being held hostage outside of a Red Robin restaurant in Delta Township.

    Now he’s working on a training video, he says, to help other officers who may also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “There’s a lot of issues out there the public isn’t aware of and proper treatment and guidelines need to be established,” Lutz says.

    Before Lutz’s sentencing, Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Sauter asked the judge to not go easy on him. After Sauter said, he was satisfied with the sentence, “It’s not the first time a judge has seen a difference in the need for punishment.”

    Lutz has no plans to appeal.

    Eaton County Sheriff Michael Raines released this statement Friday afternoon:

    “If anything good has come from this, it has given the sheriff’s office an opportunity to establish a dialogue and exchange of ideas with everyone in our community.

    “The county has and continues to provide all employees with police psychological services.”

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      About that Red Robin waitress shooting: She was being used as a human shield by a guy who had already murdered two young women in cold blood. While it may have been better if Lutz had hit the murder suspect instead of the hostage, there’s a very high chance she would have died if he hadn’t shot at all. When he shot her in the leg, the killer dropped her and ran away.

  24. avatar jsallison says:

    Sounds like he’d recently watched Speed. PopQuiz!

  25. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Wow…makes ya wonder how many people are in jail/prison because of “made-up tales”…

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Exactly. Now consider cases where officers have both incentive and license to steal by way of asset forfeiture.

  26. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Suppose there actually had been a traffic stop in this case, and the cop still negligently shot himself in the arm. Would this same pillar of integrity have hesitated to frame that driver for the shooting? Perhaps the forensics wouldn’t support such a claim, in the long run, but that could be a very long and ruinous run, nonetheless.

    Think about that next time you’re on jury duty. Grant NO ONE any unearned credibility. Defer not one bit to any witness simply because he wears a badge. Demand actual, tangible, verifiable proof wherever possible.

    If the defendant is guilty, then let the strength of the case put him away. Society only suffers when we take judicial shortcuts and the unwarranted word of agents of the State.

  27. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I am still stunned that he got charged, arrested and jailed until he posted bail. This USUALLY results in a few weeks desk duty, fully paid with no loss in benefits, and maybe taxpayer funded counseling. Kudos to the sherriff’s dept for weeding this guy out of the system.

  28. avatar Pashtun6 says:

    Wow. This guy must be stupid…

  29. avatar frank says:

    People should get there facts straight. He never confessed to shooting himself and investigators determined by the angle and location of the wound that it was physically impossible for him to have done it. Remember this is a brother son and father a person who was put in a bad situation.

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