Salt Lake man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend, shooting at responding police officers

May 9, 2023, 7:47 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:24 pm

The suspect was identified as 30-year-old Michael Tyson Nance....

The suspect was identified as 30-year-old Michael Tyson Nance.

SALT LAKE CITY — A man admitted Tuesday to shooting and killing his girlfriend and then shooting at police officers, causing serious injuries to one officer, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Michael Tyson Nance, 34, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and felony discharge of a firearm, all first-degree felonies. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed one charge of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and another charge for aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

In a statement supporting the plea, Nance said he “knowingly and intentionally” caused Natalie Thurber’s death on Feb. 10, 2020, by firing a gun at her. He also admitted he attempted to cause the death of Salt Lake City police officer Kris Jeppsen, who responded to the scene, and caused serious injuries to another officer, Chad Miller.

Before her death, Thurber called 911 and left the line open. Dispatchers said they could hear the two arguing.

“Natalie can be heard stating that (Nance) would not leave her and that he strangled her and tried to kill her,” according to charging documents.

The documents said she begged Nance to let her leave, but he refused. When officers arrived they could hear screaming, “gurgling sounds and a male yelling.”

Officers kicked in a window and watched as Nance came into view with a handgun and fired it at Thurber, before firing multiple shots toward the officers.

Police returned fire, and Nance was injured. But it was determined that Nance had shot himself. He told detectives at the hospital he had “lost it.”

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said his office mourns for the death of Thurber, and hopes this plea helps her family receive some closure.

“Domestic violence is a problem that takes a community to solve. If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, please reach out to your local law enforcement so they can intervene and help stop it from continuing,” Gill said.

Nance is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 8. The minimum sentence for aggravated murder, according to his plea statement, is between 25 years and life at the Utah State Prison.

Michael Tyson Nance pled guilty on Tuesday to shooting and killing his girlfriend, and then firing at police in February 2020. (Salt Lake County Jail)

Domestic violence resources

If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

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Salt Lake man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend, shooting at responding police officers