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Man who shot at police officer in Greeley convicted of attempted murder

Prosecutors say James Nicholson, 51, could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

GREELEY, Colo. — An Aurora man who fired a gun at a police officer during a high-speed chase in Greeley has been convicted of attempted second-degree murder, the Weld County District Attorney's Office said in a release Friday.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, the release said, 51-year-old James Nicholson was convicted last week of one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, vehicular eluding and possession of a controlled substance.

The release said in July 2020, officers were called to an apartment on 10th Street in Greeley, where a resident reported that a man matching Nicholson's description had a gun and was trying to get into their apartment. 

When officers arrived, the release said, they saw Nicholson walking away. When they tried to make contact with him, he ran off.

The DA's office said when the two officers got closer to catching up with Nicholson, he turned around and sprayed them with bear mace. The officers said they couldn't see and were having trouble breathing, according to the release.

When backup arrived, the release said, Nicholson, got into a vehicle and took off, leading officers on a high-speed chase through Greeley.

Credit: Weld County District Attorney
James Nicholson

At one point during the chase, the release said one of the officers saw the rear window of Nicholson's vehicle shatter. He then heard multiple gunshots and saw eight to ten muzzle flashes coming from inside the vehicle, according to prosecutors.

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Multiple agencies helped Greeley police officers during the chase as it went through other cities and counties, according to the release, before Larimer County sheriff's deputies managed to stop Nicholson's vehicle in Loveland.

In September, the release said, a judge will decide whether Nicholson is a habitual offender. If he's convicted on that charge, the DA's office said he could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.