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Tower Down - 06.14.21 (CA) "Updated 10.27.21"


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Man found dead after Oakland tow truck crash was shot



The fatal shooting is city’s 57th homicide of year


OAKLAND — A 43-year-old Auburn man found dead inside his tow truck that crashed into an East Oakland building Monday morning died from a gunshot wound, authorities said.


The man, whose name has not yet been released, was found about 4:13 a.m. Monday inside his 2019 Ford F450 tow truck that crashed into a building in the 1800 block of East 12th Street at 19th Avenue.


He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, but Alameda County Sheriff’s Office coroner’s staff who examined the man’s body later discovered he had been shot.


Police said it appears the man was driving westbound along East 12th Street when something caused him to leave the roadway and crash into the building. Investigators shared few preliminary details, but did say they were not sure if that was where the shooting occurred or if it happened at another location.


No one else was injured. Police have not yet determined what the man was doing in Oakland.


The killing is the 57th homicide investigated by Oakland police this year. Last year at this time, police had investigated 31 homicides in the city.


Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of suspects. Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3821 or 510-238-7950 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.




Tow truck driver fatally shot in Oakland is identified

The Auburn man was in Oakland on a repossession assignment

OAKLAND — A 43-year-old Auburn man found fatally shot Monday morning inside his tow truck was identified by police Thursday as Tim Nielsen, who was in Oakland on a repossession assignment, officials said.


But whether he was killed trying to repossess a vehicle or for some other reason has not been determined yet by homicide investigators.


Nielsen, the father of four children who was engaged to be married, was found dead about 4:13 a.m. Monday inside his  2019 Ford F450 tow truck that had crashed into a building in the 1800 block of East 12th Street at 19th Avenue.


It was not until his body was taken to the coroner’s officer that it was discovered he had been shot in the torso.


Investigators believe he was shot a few blocks from where he was found and was able to drive away before crashing.  Police have not said exactly where they believe he was shot.  No arrests have been made.



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Two charged with murdering Oakland tow truck driver during attempted robbery


OAKLAND — Two 20-year-old men have been arrested and charged with murdering a tow truck driver during an attempted robbery last June, court records show.


Aaron Hein and Marco Dragula, both of Dublin, have been charged with murder and attempted second-degree robbery in the June 14 killing of 43-year-old Tim Nielsen, an Auburn resident.


Dragula is charged with shooting into an occupied car and personally discharging the gun that killed Nielsen, an indication that police believe him to be the shooter. Hein is charged as a “major participant” to the homicide who acted “with reckless disregard for human life,” the criminal complaint says.


Nielsen, a father of four, was on a repossession assignment in Oakland when he was fatally shot during a robbery attempt, authorities said. He was found dead about 4:13 a.m. inside his 2019 Ford F450 tow truck, which had crashed into a building in the 1800 block of East 12th Street at 19th Avenue.


A police probable-cause statement says simply that Dragula and Hein were identified by witnesses, without elaboration. Both men are in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on no-bail holds, having been arrested Sept. 28, court records show.


Dragula has twice been charged with felony gun possession this year, in February and July. He was out on bail on both cases at the time of his arrest, court records show.


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