Prosecutors have filed attempted murder charges against a 34-year-old El Cerrito man who allegedly attacked a nurse with a lamp at the county jail in Martinez on Monday. Aaron Nygaard has been charged with premeditated and deliberate attempted murder with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury in connection with the attack, Deputy District Attorney Dominique Yancey said. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court this afternoon.If convicted of all the charges, Nygaard could face a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, Yancey said.El Cerrito police arrested Nygaard on Monday morning after a resident interrupted him as he was allegedly burglarizing a home in the 500 block of Kearney Street, police said.He was taken to the jail, where he underwent an extensive screening process.He was in a holding cell at the jail waiting to be assigned to a module at about 4 p.m. when he allegedly faked a seizure, Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said. Deputies brought Nygaard to the nurse’s station in the jail’s intake area, where he admitted that he had faked the seizure because he didn’t want to be in the holding cell he had been taken to, Lee said.Moments later, without provocation or warning, Nygaard allegedly picked up a lamp and struck the nurse in the head with it, Lee said.He hit her hard enough that she lost consciousness, Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf said. The nurse was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for treatment.Officials would not release details about the severity of her injuries, but Rupf did say he had “no reason to believe that she will not make a full recovery.”Nygaard, meanwhile, was allegedly swinging the lamp at deputies as they tried to detain him.The deputies shot Nygaard with a Taser, but he continued to struggle violently, Lee said.The deputies eventually tackled and sedated him so they could take him to Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez. Nygaard had no criminal history at the time of his arrest and had not shown any violent or aggressive behavior while he was going through the booking process at the jail, Rupf said.”This person … had gone through all the screening for an entire day and there was absolutely no indication…that he was capable, let alone interested, in hurting somebody,” Rupf said.Rupf said inmates are often aggressive toward police and sheriff’s deputies, but it is extremely rare for them to show any aggression toward health care workers.”That’s the part that angers me most about this — that this knucklehead attacked a good person who was trying to help him,” Rupf said.
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