Sheriff: Shot deputy released from York Hospital

Liz Evans Scolforo
  • James Nickol was fatally shot by a York County deputy whom Nickol had just shot in the face.
  • Nickol was wanted on an escape charge for walking away from his prison work-release job at a restaurant.
  • York County District Attorney Tom Kearney will determine whether Nickol's shooting was justified.

A York County sheriff's deputy shot in the face Thursday morning by a wanted fugitive has returned home to his wife and children, according to the office of Sheriff Richard Keuerleber.

The sheriff's office issued a news release late Friday afternoon announcing Deputy Michael Lutz, 35, had been released from York Hospital.

Lutz is expected to make a full recovery, Keuerleber said.

On Friday morning, the York County Coroner's Office released information that the York fugitive who shot Lutz died of multiple gunshot wounds.

"This is my house," a woman said as she approached investigating officials at the scene of a shooting at 974 E. Philadelphia St. in York City on Thursday, June 9, 2016. York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber said one of his deputies was shot in the face while serving a warrant there and that the deputy returned fire and killed the suspect, James Allen Nickol.
(Dawn J. Sagert photo)

An autopsy done Friday morning on the body of James Allen Nickol determined he suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, the coroner's office said.

Coroner Pam Gay has ruled his death a homicide but stressed that simply means he was killed by another person.

It will be up to York County District Attorney Tom Kearney to determine whether Nickol's fatal shooting by law enforcement was justified.

Kyle King, spokesman for the DA's office, said York City Police are investigating and will submit a final report to Kearney, who will then review the report and make his determination.

James Allen Nickol

Shot a deputy: Nickol, 38, of no fixed address, shot Lutz in the cheek and thumb Thursday morning as Lutz and other deputies were assisting York City Police in serving an arrest warrant on Nickol at 974 E. Philadelphia St., according to the sheriff.

"We're very fortunate that Mike's going to be OK," Keuerleber told The York Dispatch.

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

After being wounded, Lutz returned fire and shot Nickol, who was taken to York Hospital and later pronounced dead, the sheriff has said.

York County deputy kills man who shot him in face

Lutz's fellow deputies applied pressure to his wounds at the scene, according to Keuerleber, who said their actions helped save Lutz's life.

Deputies at the scene also performed CPR on Nickol, the sheriff said.

Prison escapee: Nickol was supposed to be in York County Prison at the time of his death and was wanted on an escape charge, according to court records.

Court documents charging him with escape state Nickol was serving a sentence at York County Prison for burglary and related offenses, 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 documents.

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

Long criminal record: Nickol had an extensive criminal history in Pennsylvania — 22 cases beginning when he was 18 years old, all in York County.

He pleaded guilty twice to intimidating court witnesses, pleaded guilty three times to burglary and pleaded guilty to dealing drugs in four cases, records state.

His other charges over the years included possessing a gun with an obliterated serial number, possessing an instrument of crime, food-stamp fraud and conspiracy to commit forgery. He pleaded guilty to theft in at least seven cases.

Nickol still owed money for court costs and restitution in 20 of his 22 court cases as of Thursday, according to court records. On Friday, his cases were closed out.

Someone has started a fundraising page at, trying to raise $5,000 to pay for Nickol's funeral. The page makes no mention that Nickol shot a deputy while wanted for escape.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.