Shawn Nelson (August 21, 1959 – May 17, 1995) was a 35-year-old plumber and former US Army soldier infamous for stealing an M60A3 Patton Tank before driving through San Diego, California and going on a destructive rampage.
Nelson had a series of tragic events happen to him prior to the rampage, such as being sued 6,640 dollars, his parents dying of cancer, his house being closed, and his girlfriend dying of a drug overdose. A week before the incident, Nelson was apparently thinking of committing suicide before driving into a National Guard armory and stealing a 60-ton M60A3 tank. With his military training and tank driving experiences when he was a soldier, Nelson drove the vehicle of destruction out of the armory before running over cars, fire hydrants, and even RVs. Since the police, after being called by the National Guard troops, obviously didn't have the firepower to even dent Shawn's rampage, they simply had to wait until the tank ran out of gas. On May 17, 1995, the day of the riot, Shawn was shot dead by the police.