On Christmas Eve, a fatal shooting occurred at a residence in Ringgold, resulting in the death of 41-year-old Master Sergeant Nicholas ‘Nick’ McLeod Van Pelt, a veteran and Ringgold High School graduate. Another woman present in the house sustained multiple gunshot wounds but survived and is currently hospitalized. The alleged perpetrator, 39-year-old Daniel Breijo, an officer with the Department of Homeland Security, has been charged with felony murder and felony attempted murder.
According to an affidavit from the Minot Police Department, officers responded to a shooting call just before 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. A witness reported hearing “6 loud bangs from the apartment next to him and people are screaming.” Upon arrival, officers discovered a woman in distress outside the apartment, prompting them to forcibly enter.
Inside the residence, they found Van Pelt’s deceased body in the hallway, near the front door. Another woman, injured and claiming to have been shot, directed officers to another person in the apartment.
Breijo was located in a bathroom with a firearm nearby and was subsequently taken into custody. Following his recent court appearance, all local judges recused themselves due to personal connections with the victims. Judge Ralph Van Pelt, well-known in Walker County, is the father of the deceased and served on the bench for 25 years in Northwest Georgia.