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York County deputy kills man who shot him in face

Liz Evans Scolforo, and John Joyce
York Dispatch

A York County sheriff's deputy shot in the face Thursday morning in York City returned fire, fatally striking his attacker, officials said.

York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber said Deputy Michael Lutz, 35, will survive his wounds.

"He was coherent, he was talking, his vitals are good," Keuerleber said Thursday morning. By the end of the day, it was clear Lutz will fully recover, the sheriff said.

A mobile forensics unit arrives on the scene of the shooting. A York County deputy sheriff was shot while serving a warrant in the 900 block of East Philadelphia Street Thursday, June 9, 2016. Dawn Sagert photo

Lutz suffered gunshot wounds to his face and thumb and returned fire, hitting his attacker, according to the sheriff's office.

Keuerleber said CPR was performed on the man who shot Lutz, and both were taken to York Hospital.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday, York County Coroner Pam Gay announced the attacker had died.

James Allen Nickol

James Allen Nickol, 38, of no fixed address, died about 11:40 a.m. at York Hospital, Gay announced on Twitter. She confirmed he is the suspect in the deputy's shooting.

'Very fortunate': Keuerleber expressed relief Thursday afternoon.

"We're very fortunate that Mike's going to be OK," he said. "We just found out the doctor doesn't think he'll need surgery."

Lutz is part of the sheriff's criminal response unit and has been a deputy for five years, the sheriff said.

"I tell my guys the ultimate goal is for them to get home safely to their families every day," Keuerleber said.

The sheriff praised other deputies who were at the scene of the shooting.

"They applied pressure to his wounds," he said. "That's a big reason why Mike didn't lose a lot of blood."

The deputies' actions likely helped save Lutz's life, Keuerleber said.

Prison walk-away: Court records indicate there was a warrant for Nickol's arrest.

Court documents charging him with escape state Nickol was serving a sentence for burglary and related offenses at York County Prison, and he was in the facility's outmate work-release program.

On Tuesday, the prison received a call from Nickol's boss at a Springettsbury Township restaurant, saying Nickol simply walked away and didn't return after being instructed to take out the trash, according to those documents, which were filed by state police.

He was serving a sentence of a year minus a day to two years minus two days, court records state.

An autopsy on Nickol is scheduled for Friday morning at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital, the coroner said.

Shot in cheek: Lutz, who was shot in the cheek, was assisting York City Police in serving an arrest warrant at a home in the 900 block of East Philadelphia Street, the sheriff said. Gunfire erupted about 8:50 a.m., according to Gay.

After the gunfire, investigators taped off 974 E. Philadelphia St. with police tape.

Next-door neighbor Jeff Heighes has lived in the area for 28 years and said there have been shootings and police chases there in the past.

"But nothing like this," he said.

Heighes said he heard something going on and walked out of his home into the alley off East Philadelphia to see what it was.

"When I came out, there was an officer lying on the ground. I could tell he was in distress," Heighes said. "He was awake, but they were trying to get him to calm down until the ambulance came."

Neighbor Karen Randolph said her daughter was upstairs and heard arguing, then heard about four gunshots in rapid succession, followed by six more gunshots.

As of 5:20 p.m., York City Police had not released any additional information.

2005 shooting: Another York County sheriff's deputy was shot trying to serve a warrant, and he also survived.

Deputy Tony Curet and four other deputies went to a home on Willis Lane in the Parkway Homes complex in March 2005 to arrest Hector Manuel Bello Jr., who lived there with his mother. He had three outstanding warrants for his arrest.

Bello came down the stairs of his mother's home firing two guns simultaneously and hit Curet in the arm.

Saved mom: The impact knocked Curet to the ground, but he regained his footing, pushed Bello's mother out of the path of her son's bullets and returned fire. Former Sheriff Bill Hose said he's convinced Curet saved the mother's life. Bello was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Police later found a third loaded weapon under the man's pillow and about $170,000 worth of heroin hidden throughout the home.

Curet was honored with a commendation for bravery and courageous service.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo atlevans@yorkdispatch.comor on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.