- Associated Press - Saturday, June 21, 2014

HUMBOLDT, Neb. (AP) - Investigators looking into the shooting earlier this month of Richardson County Sheriff’s deputy have determined that he staged the shooting and lied about being ambushed by an unknown assailant.

Richardson County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Nincehelser was fired and arrested Friday, investigators said. He is charged with felony criminal mischief, false reporting, use of a weapon, obstructing government operations and abuse of public records. He was being held on $50,000 bail.

On June 9, law enforcement launched a search in southeast Nebraska and nearby states after Nincehelser reported he had been shot by a driver he had pulled over.

A news release issued that day by the Richardson County Sheriff’s Department said Nincehelser had approached a car stopped on a rural road near Highway 75. Nincehelser said the driver suddenly produced a semi-automatic pistol and fired several shots at Nincehelser, hitting Nincehelser’s patrol car and one of his arms.

Nincehelser reported that he returned fire and then got into his cruiser to give chase as the car sped away.

The news release said the chase ended within a few miles because Nincehelser couldn’t see adequately through his shattered windshield.

Now, investigators say, Nincehelser has acknowledged he shot himself, then fired several shots into his patrol car.

Authorities became suspicious of Nincehelser’s story when forensic evidence from the scene of the shooting didn’t match the deputy’s story.

An affidavit by Nebraska State Patrol investigators says the trajectories of the bullets that hit Nincehelser’s patrol vehicle were fired from a higher point than a person seated in a passenger car. Further testing showed the .40 caliber shell casings fired into the patrol came from Nincehelser’s service weapon, the affidavit said.

A dispatcher who answered the phone at the Richardson County Sheriff’s Office declined to say whether Nincehelser remained in the county jail on Saturday.

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