Man charged in gunfight that hit Charlotte school bus is felon with long record

A page is devoted to Nelson Handy’s arrest at the Mecklenburg County Jail
A page is devoted to Nelson Handy’s arrest at the Mecklenburg County Jail

A convicted felon has been arrested in connection with the Thursday morning gun battle that put bullets in a school bus and a car in the Optimist Park area of northeast Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police charged Nelson Handy III, 28, with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, driving while license revoked, reckless driving, failing to heed emergency light and fleeing to elude law.

A tip identified Handy as one of the shooters and the driver of the Dodge Charger involved in the incident, officials said. He was arrested Friday morning after a brief police chase that began on Statesville Road and ended on Garnette Place in northwest Charlotte.

Detectives say they have additional warrants for shooting into occupied property that will be served on Handy by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office.

The gun battle occurred about 7:30 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Parkwood Avenue and The Plaza. No injuries were reported on the bus, which was affiliated with Charter Lab School. However, the driver was hit by flying glass from a broken window, police said. A second bullet hit and damaged a vehicle parked at the gas station. Someone was in the car at the time, but was not injured, police said.

A parking lot surveillance video released by police showed the two men were in separate cars at the gas pumps when they confronted each other. One pulls a gun and begins firing at least four shots at the other man, who escapes by running for cover behind a car. The shooter then drives away, but not before the other man is able to return fire with his own gun. He appears to fire at least twice at the fleeing shooter, into passing traffic.

Police have not said whether they have identified the second suspect.

Handy has an extensive arrest record in Mecklenburg County, including charges of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, misdemeanor larceny, possession of stolen goods, common law robbery, felony conspiracy and driving while impaired, records show.

His convictions include breaking and entering a vehicle, assault on a female, possession of stolen property, misdemeanor larceny and possession of a controlled substance on jail premises.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting or has information on the identities of the men involved is asked to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600, or visit http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.