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Nevada County sheriff: James Paul Scola shot by another, but self-inflicted gunshot was fatal

Law enforcement officials continued to work the scene of fatal shooting in Cascade Shores Tuesday. The cause and manner of death remain under investigation.
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union
NEWS RELEASE, NEVADA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: On December 14th, 2016 an autopsy was performed on the decedent, James Paul Scola. The results of the autopsy revealed that Scola was struck several times with what appeared to be handgun caliber bullets. The autopsy further revealed that the fatal wound Scola suffered was actually “self-inflicted” from a shotgun. The preliminary investigation into the shooting has revealed Scola was, in fact, known to the residents at the home where the shooting took place. Just prior to the shooting, Scola was engaged in a heated verbal argument with one of the residents. After walking away for a brief period, Scola reportedly returned and broke into the residence armed with a shotgun. Moments later another resident of the home, fearing for his life and others in the home, fired multiple handgun rounds at Scola. Besides Scola, there were two adults and a juvenile inside the home at the time of the shooting, all of whom were uninjured. The exact details of why Scola went to the home and what precipitated the argument and resultant shooting are being withheld at this time until Sheriff’s Investigators have had a chance to examine all the evidence and evaluate the witnesses’ statements obtained thus far.  

James Paul Scola, found dead Tuesday morning outside a Cascade Shores home, was shot several times as he tried to burst into a Pawnee Trail house and was killed moments later by a self-inflicted shotgun wound, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Sheriff Keith Royal said he anticipates no arrests in the case. It’s unknown if the fatal shot was accidental.

“And I don’t know if we’ll ever have an answer to that,” he added.

Scola, 36, approached a friend’s home on Pawnee Trail around 8 a.m. Tuesday. He argued with a woman before walking from the house, only to return moments later with a shotgun, Royal and reports state.

Scola then broke into the home, the pointed shotgun visible to someone inside the house, Royal said.

“That one individual fired multiple gunshots at Scola,” the sheriff added, noting two adults and a juvenile were in the home at the time.

Royal said Scola, was struck several times, stepped away from the door, possibly in an attempt to retreat. A blast from the shotgun then killed Scola, a Wednesday autopsy determined.

The shooting led authorities from several agencies to descend on the Nevada City home. Criminalist and latent print analysts from the state justice department, along with the District Attorney’s Investigations Unit, assisted deputies at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

Scola remembered
Scola’s ex-wife called the Nevada City man someone who was loved by those who truly knew him.

Billie Alvarez-Declusin, married to Scola from 2001 to 2011, said she learned about the shooting some three hours after it occurred. The mother of two of Scola’s children, Alvarez-Declusin said her ex-husband last saw their children two days before his death.

“He just had them that past weekend,” she added.

According to Alvarez-Declusin, Scola died at the home of a good friend. She didn’t know the circumstances of his death and has only heard second-hand accounts.

Alvarez-Declusin said Scola was someone loved by the people who knew him best.
“He loved dirt bikes. He loved fixing cars,” Alvarez-Declusin said. “He really tried to be a family man for me and my children.

“I’m still in shock,” she added. “I’m waiting for someone to call and say this didn’t happen.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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