On may 17, 1995, a resident of San Diego (USA), Sean Nelson, stole an M60 tank that belonged to the National guard and was stored in their Armory in downtown San Diego.


Tank hijacking in San-Diego

The M60 A3 Tank was stolen by a mentally unstable former us army tank driver, Sean Nelson. The 35-year-old simply drove up to the Armory, drove through its unlocked main gate, and began walking freely around the facility. Even though there were a large number of military personnel there at the time, no one seemed to notice the presence of an outsider.

Tank hijacking in San-Diego

Security at the Arsenal was later heavily criticized, as no one approached Nelson when he unsuccessfully tried to launch two tanks. To start these tanks, no key or code was required: to start the engine, you just had to press the starter button.

Nelson was lucky when the third tank started up. Only then did a security guard try to stop him, but it was too late, and Nelson simply drove off, leaving the stunned soldier with no choice but to run to the nearest security post to call the police and tell them that one of their tanks had just been stolen.

The story of Sean Nelson

So who was Sean Nelson? He was born in Utah and, after graduating from high school, joined the army, where he served for only two years, spending most of that time as a tank driver in a U.S. army battalion in West Germany. Nelson often clashed with his commanders and was discharged from the army in 1980 at the age of 21.

during the 1980s, he seemed to put his problems behind him and over the next few years adjusted well to civilian life. He opened and ran a successful plumbing business and got married. After six years, he began to have problems in business and in the family life, then he started using drugs again. In 1988, his mother died, and in 1990, Nelson's wife divorced him after seven years of marriage. In the same year, he was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with back injuries that prevented him from working. He later filed a lawsuit against the hospital for negligence, but lost the case.

Nelson blamed the same hospital for his mother's death. To make matters worse, his father, with whom he was very close, died unexpectedly in 1992. After this, Nelson increasingly turned to alcohol and drugs for solace, and by 1995 was seriously mired in debt. His work van and plumbing tools were stolen, bringing his business to a complete standstill. His insurance didn't fully cover his losses, and now he couldn't work, and an old back injury was causing him a lot of pain. Then, in the spring, his water and electricity were cut off because he didn't pay the bills, and the Bank started repaying his home because he hadn't paid the mortgage for months.

Tank hijacking in San-Diego

Nelson was now heavily addicted to methamphetamine, using it in a hopeless attempt to dull all the physical and emotional pain he was feeling at the time. Like most addicts, this made Nelson more aggressive. He began to become increasingly mentally unstable and suffered from paranoid hallucinations. He even dug a hole 5 meters deep in the backyard, mistakenly believing that there was gold there.

His girlfriend Michelle, who lived with him, has now left Nelson, which, according to friends, has made him extremely depressed and suicidal. All of this seemed to cause Nelson some kind of mental breakdown and push him to the limit, which led him, oddly enough, to hijack a tank from The national guard Arsenal in San Diego on may 17, 1995 at about 6: 30 p.m.

Soon, local and state police began a pursuit in patrol cars, the media covered the events from a helicopter, so the chase was broadcast live on national television. The tank drove through the suburbs at speeds of up to 50 km per hour, leaving a destructive trail. Nelson rammed numerous road signs lampposts, traffic lights and electric poles, and ran over several fire hydrants.

It would have crushed about 40 parked cars, and even managed to leave 5,000 local residents without electricity. Oncoming cars were forced to swerve to avoid colliding with them or getting under its tracks. Despite the police presence, they were completely powerless, as normal police tactics could not be applied in this case. Putting up roadblocks was pointless, as was trying to push a tank off the road by ramming it with a police car. The deployment of bands of the Stinger also does not work against the tank.At this stage, the police didn't even know if there were shells in the tank, so in desperation they turned to the marine corps base at nearby camp Pendleton, where a squadron of AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters was based.

Tank hijacking in San-Diego

In addition to the question of the legality of using American military means to attack a civilian on American soil, there was also a concern that one of the anti-tank missiles might miss its target and cause civilian casualties.

Tank hijacking in San-Diego

Nelson turned under the freeway and headed South. Some time later, he stopped briefly to RAM one of the supporting pillars of the pedestrian bridge several times, apparently in an unsuccessful attempt to bring it down. When he re-entered the freeway, he tried to move to the other side, but got stuck on a concrete barrier that separated the two sides of the freeway.

When the tank lost one of its tracks and was unable to free itself, the police took the opportunity to use a bolt cutter to open the driver's hatch and ordered Nelson to surrender. But he didn't react and continued to gas, rocking the tank back and forth in an attempt to free it.

The police decided they had no choice but to open fire, and a single bullet hit Nelson in the neck, ending the hijacking that lasted 23 minutes.

Nelson died that evening in a local hospital from a gunshot wound.

Tank hijacking in San-Diego

2020-11-24 09:01:25


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