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A 28-year-old California man is accused of fatally shooting his mother after an argument over a video game controller, police say.
Matthew Nicholson killed his 68-year-old mother, Lydia Nicholson, on January 11, the Ceres Police Department said in a press release. Police said Nicholson was in his bedroom playing video games when he became upset and started yelling. His mother went to check on him.
“Nicholson began to argue with her and he ended up breaking the headset to his video game. Nicholson then blamed the victim for the broken headset and threatened to kill the victim and Nicholson’s father,” police said. “Nicholson then retrieved a handgun from the home and fired two rounds into the wall inside the home and then shot the victim in the head.”
Nicholson fled from the scene and was later arrested during a traffic stop.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. After Nicholson Shot His Mother, Police Say He Tried to Kill His Father, but the Gun Jammed & He Was Able to Wrestle the Gun Away From Him
The Ceres Police Department said officers responded to a report of a woman shot at a home in the 1300 block of River Valley Circle about 9:45 p.m. on January 11, according to a press release. Officers found 68-year-old Lydia Nicholson suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. She was taken to a local hospital and later died, police said.
Investigators were then told that her son, Matthew Nicholson, had shot her during an argument and then fled from the home. He had first tried to kill his 81-year-old father, Loren Nicholson, according to police.
“Nicholson’s father wrestled the firearm away from Nicholson,” police said.
A family friend told Fox 40 , “I understand that he would’ve killed the father too, but the gun jammed. The father grabbed the gun, emptied it.”
Police said Nicholson fled from the scene and went to a relative’s home in Riverbank. Police found the vehicle in Riverbank and “a high risk vehicle stop was conducted where Nicholson was taken into custody without further incident.”
2. Nicholson, Whose Suffers From Mental Illness, Was a Paraprofessional at an Modesto After School Program Until Last Year, a Friend Says
Matt Nicholson worked as a paraprofessional at Sipherd Elementary School in Modesto, California, until he left that job last year. Public records show Nicholson recently lived in Modesto.
“My god I’m in shock. He was in charge of my kids elementary after school program,” Jamie Trevino wrote on Facebook.
Nicholson’s friend, Manuel Alejandro Gutierrez, confirmed that he worked at a school and said that he suffered from mental health issues.
“None of you guys even know Matt, he worked hard and was a great paraprofessional,” Gutierrez wrote on Facebook. “Mental instabilities are (what) they are, but accusing and assuming you knew this man from just a picture and short press release is downright disgusting. Prayers go out to the families affected, as his friends are too.”
Gutierrez told The Epoch Times, “To be honest this came out of left field. As far as I knew, he was always well mannered/tempered.”
He said his job took “a lot of patience and understanding.”
Gutierrez added that Nicholson is a “pretty avid gamer,” but didn’t get particularly angry.
“I’ve played at my house when he would come over. He was never livid, usually just argue with the screen as any other gamer would,” he said.
3. He Was Arrested for Driving Under the Influence in 2014, but the Charge Was Dropped
Matthew Nicholson does not appear to have any criminal convictions on his record. Nichols was arrested in August 2014 in Stanislaus County, California, and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The case was dismissed in April 2015. Further details about that arrest and case were not immediately available.
Nicholson also has traffic tickets on his record in Stanislaus County, but no other known arrests. It is not clear if he has any criminal history outside of Stanislaus County.
But police said they have been to the Ceres home in the past. Sergeant Greg Yotsuya told Fox 40 that officers were called to the Nicholson home within the past six months for a fight between Matt Nicholson and his mother. Details of that incident were not released.
4. Lydia Nicholson’s Daughter Says Her Mother Was ‘My Protector, My Motivation, My Blessing & Now My Guardian Angel
Lydia Nicholson was retired, according to her Facebook page.
Autumn Nicholson White, Lydia Nicholson’s daughter, wrote on Facebook, “R.I.P. Mom. I will forever love you, my best friend, my chosen one, my always, my forever, my protector, my motivation, my blessing, and now my guardian angel. My heart is shattered and I promise your memory will forever live on in me, Dad, Cameron and Chris. You’ve earned your wings, fly and be free.”
She told Fox 40 that her mother worked for several decades in local schools and had been married for 32 years.
“My mom was a wonderful person, and loved her children,” Autumn White told the news station.
She told KCRA-TV, “My mom was a wonderful person who loved her children. This house has always been open to friends and family and it’s always been a family atmosphere.”
5. Matthew Nicholson Is Being Held Without Bail at the Stanislaus County Jail After Being Charged With Homicide
Matthew Nicholson was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on a homicide charge, the Ceres Police Department said in a press release. It is not clear when Nicholson is scheduled to appear in court. It is also not known if he has hired an attorney.
Police Sergeant Greg Yotsuya told KCRA-TV investigators are still working to determine what led to the shooting.
“Was it the video game or was there something else going on?” Yotsuga said.
In a press release, police said, “This is an active investigation and no further details will be released at this time. If anyone has information related to this case they are encouraged to contact Detective Bryan Ferreira at 209-538-5616.”