Van Buren Co. sheriff responds to son’s criminal charges

Nikolas Abbott accused of giving gun to murder suspect, then trying to get rid of it

Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott
Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott speaks with 24 Hour News 8 about the criminal investigation involving his son. (July 11, 2017)

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — The Van Buren County sheriff said he has purposely stayed away from the criminal investigation surrounding his son’s connection to a homicide earlier this year.

News broke Monday that Sheriff Daniel Abbott’s son, Nikolas Abbott, 23, had been arrested and charged for being an accessory after the alleged murder of Eddie “EJ” Holland at a Bangor-area park. Police called the homicide the result of a drug deal gone bad.

In Michigan State Police reports obtained by Target 8, officers said that the gun used in the homicide belonged to Nik Abbott and that his father contacted police to facilitate reporting the gun stolen following the shooting.

Sheriff Abbott said his son frantically approached him following the shooting, saying that one of his guns was missing. According to the sheriff, his son said that murder suspect Thurman Fletcher had been to his home before the shooting.

Nikolas Abbott
A photo showing the handgun that Michigan State Police say Nikolas Abbott gave to Thurman Fletcher, retrieved, sold and then reported stolen. It was recovered in Benton Harbor.

“I told him, obviously, immediately, you can’t file anything with our agency — it’s a conflict of interest,” Sheriff Abbott explained to 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “‘The right thing to do is- the State Police is handling that complaint, you need to get with them on it.’ So I called our dispatch, let dispatch find out who was working to find out where they wanted Nik to go to file the complaint, whether it be my house, his house, or the post.”

But MSP reports indicate that the gun wasn’t stolen. The reports state that Nik Abbott gave Fletcher the gun to take with him to a marijuana drug deal. The report says that Abbott told Fletcher not to fire the weapon.

Nonetheless, an altercation took place and Holland was shot and killed. Fletcher was also shot in the foot somehow. He has claimed he shot Holland in self-defense.

After learning of the homicide, police say Nik Abbott reported his gun stolen and sold it. The weapon was ultimately recovered by police with the help of informants, reports show.

Sheriff Abbott recognized that his position put his son’s involvement in the limelight.

“My son wasn’t directly involved during the whole incident that night, but yet here you guys are talking to me because of my job title,” the sheriff said.

Sheriff Abbott said his son wants to move on from the situation and has stopped associating with a number of his friends because of the case.

Sheriff Abbott also spoke about his reaction when a 24 Hour News 8 reporter made an unexpected visit to his home Monday evening with a camera rolling. Sheriff Abbott is heard saying he was “f****** pissed.”

He admitted that he shouldn’t have used the language he did.

“I did get frustrated… I felt I wasn’t handled properly…when they bailed out on me like I had committed some crime when I didn’t,” Sheriff Abbott said.

The sheriff said he was frustrated about being approached at his home.

He says he hopes the community doesn’t believe the accusations against his son are a reflection on him.

“My son hasn’t lived with me for five years,” Abbott said. “At the end of the day, when you’ve got a 23-year-old living out on his own, I don’t know how that would reflect bad on me as his father.”