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Police in Midland, Texas say officer Nathan Heidelberg loudly announced that there were cops at a man’s front door.
The lawyer for Midland homeowner David Charles Wilson, though, says his client thought Heidelberg was a possible intruder.
But neither side is arguing about the end result of the call Tuesday morning to the address along Eagle Cove in the West Texas oil town.
“David Wilson believed that his family was experiencing a home invasion and only fired his weapon to protect his family,” Brian Carney, Wilson’s defense attorney, said in a statement obtained by McClatchy. “We would like to express our deepest sympathies to Officer Heidelberg’s family and the Midland Police Department for the events that led to his death.”
Heidelberg, a 28-year-old who had worked for the department for five years, “represented the best in all of us,” police wrote on Facebook.
”He was courageous, selfless, ethical and professional. Nathan treated others with respect, regardless of their demeanor or actions. I wish I was more like Nathan,” Midland Police Chief Seth Herman said in a statement on Facebook. “It is with the utmost sorrow that we acknowledge the passing of our family member.”
Heidelberg and another officer were responding to a call triggered by a residential burglar alarm just after 1 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Two other officers nearby were called in to assist, and one of those officers, referenced only as officer Duwel, “clearly [heard] Heidelberg announce Midland Police Department,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the newspaper.
Wilson, who lives at the address from where the alarm call originated, fired his gun at the flashlight Heidelberg was shining into the home, police say, according to KTVT. Heidelberg saw that the home’s front door was open, KOSA reported, and police say the man admitted to being inside the house during the shooting.
Fort Worth police vehicles escorted Heidelberg’s body into Fort Worth Tuesday, where the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s officer will perform an autopsy.
Heidelberg’s body was found face down by other officers, and he had been shot, according to the affidavit, which was also obtained by KOSA.
Wilson was arrested, charged with manslaughter and released on $75,000 bond Tuesday, jail records show.
Heidelberg is the first officer to die in the line of duty in Midland since 1961, according to the Reporter-Telegram.