SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The man accused of publicly threatening Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at a restaurant Wednesday morning admitted to the crime in a jailhouse interview with CBS13.

Fred Nelson, 43, offered a bizarre rationale for the incident that led to his immediate detainment and arrest at the Citizen Hotel at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday: It was just business, not personal.

“I don’t have anything against Kevin Johnson, I just don’t need nobody stepping in my way,” Nelson said.

Nelson, who says he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, claims to be a multi-millionaire developer whose plans to expand his empire by building an entertainment complex in the Oak Park neighborhood have been thwarted by the mayor.

“I didn’t want anybody stopping me from developing the Oak Park area,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he saw an opportunity to confront Johnson when he spotted him in the hotel lobby, so he called the mayor over and asked to speak privately with him.

“I said, ‘I think you’ll be out of office in about four hours, I’m sorry,’” Nelson said.

mayor suspect Man Admits Threatening Mayor Kevin Johnson

(credit: Sacramento Police)

Mayor Johnson said the encounter was “very uncomfortable” and seemed like a credible threat on his life. Police arrested Nelson on a probation violation from past convictions of assault with a deadly weapon.

When asked if he actually planned to kill Johnson on Wednesday, Nelson laughed and said, “Not that day.”

The suspect also offered a cryptic answer when asked if he would be a threat to Johnson in the future.

“I guess they’re going to have to shoot me first and ask questions later,” he said.

Comments (9)
  1. non says:

    Hey, why build anything at Oak Park. That’s the jungle full of rats. No one wants to be there because your safety is in question. Mayor Johnson can have it himself.

  2. sad says:


    You state several times that he is mentally ill, yet you are reporting on this story like he is sane. This is ridiculous!!!!
    He could have said he was from Mars, nothing he says in this state can be taken seriously or have any merit. These are just the ramblings of an unstable person.

    Horrible. I will never watch your news broadcast or visit this site.

  3. Really? says:

    Sensatioanl channel 13! Nice trip to the zoo. Next time why don’t you poke him with a stick.

  4. Little Eagle says:

    Get the loonies off the streets. Now the mayor will enhance mental health care

  5. blah says:

    put him behind bar before it’s tooooo late…..

  6. Mark Angeles says:

    This was a horrific example of exploiting the plight of the mentally ill in order to draw viewers. I know this man and he is one of the many that slips though the cracks of the present heath care system. He needs treatment, not incarceration. If you don’t have the money in this country , you don’t get the treatment or the respect that is proper care.

  7. J~Fair Oaks says:

    So sad, they don’t even mention the fact that Fred (who I know from high school) was once the drummer for the band Oleander. Sad that his life has gone in this direction, I hope he gets help for his illness!

  8. artz says:

    I knew Fred Nelson in high school. He was a gentle, friendly and pleasant person, as was his sister. He was active in sports, and from what I recall was on the marching band or another music group on campus. He was a positive personality. He got along with everyone on our diverse campus. I am concerned that this incident and the lack of care may further damage his spirit. He needs proper care and attention immediately. The mayor should reach out to him either indirectly or indirectly and offer him encouragement and get involved in assisting mentally ill persons in the Sacramento area. This did not need to happen.

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