Murder victim’s family: We’ll keep his business dream alive

Published 1:27 am Friday, June 29, 2018

Tools stolen from business after owner murdered

Bruce Nelson’s lifelong dream was to have a family business, his wife said.

Bruce Nelson

Nelson lived to see that dream come true. During his 37 years as a mechanic, he spent the last 10 as the owner of Nelson’s Auto Repair on Cherokee Street in Andalusia.

His part in that dream ended last week when he was murdered in his home on Brooklyn Road. But his wife, Tomi Cox Nelson, said the family intends to keep his dream alive.

“The shop is open and running,” she said Thursday afternoon. “Bruce was an amazing mechanic. His brother, Clint, was always there with him. Clint, Huey, and his daughter Sabrina are running the business. My son, Lucas, and I also will help.”

The family suffered an additional setback this past weekend when the shop was burglarized and some of Nelson’s tools were stolen, Mrs. Nelson said.

“The tools were stolen out of the shop between Friday and Monday,” she said. “People have heard that and think the shop is closed, but it is not.”

Mrs. Nelson was at work on the night her husband was killed, the first time she had worked a midnight shift at the mental health center.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks confirmed Thursday afternoon that Nelson’s death is being investigated as a homicide. He said initial forensic reports indicate that Nelson was shot and stabbed, and his body was burned. Deputies were responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle on Brooklyn Road at 3:45 a.m. Wed., June 20, when they observed a vehicle that had been burned and was smoking at the Nelsons’ Brooklyn Road residence. They found his body near the vehicle.

Meeks said Thursday afternoon that investigators are working with the state fire marshal’s office, as there also had been a fire inside the mobile home. Investigators questioned a person of interest last week.

Almost everything in the home was a loss, Mrs. Nelson said. She is currently staying with her son, and said friends and family members have been “wonderful” to donate toward her husband’s funeral expenses, and helping her get the things she needs. The Red Cross also has helped, she said. A friend started a GoFundMe account, accessible here.

When she left on Tuesday night, the last thing her husband said was, “I love you, too. I’ll see you in the morning. Have a good night.”

But by the time she got to Brooklyn Road Wednesday morning, she had heard there had been a fire. When Bruce Nelson wouldn’t answer his phone – which was missing from their home – she knew in her gut the fire was at their house.

“One good thing is that his dog got out,” she said, adding that the Boston terrier was her husband’s baby.

Customers who wish to reach the repair shop may call 334.504.1644.