Midland, TX – The homeowner who fatally shot Midland Police Officer Nathan “Hayden” Heidelberg as he was responding to a burglary alarm at the man’s residence has been indicted for manslaughter.
“David Wilson believed that his family was experiencing a home invasion and only fired his weapon to protect his family,” his attorney, Brian Carney, claimed at the time. “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.”
But Midland police said that Officer Heidelberg, a five-year veteran-of-the-force, announced himself loudly from outside Wilson’s front door just prior to the shooting.
The fatal incident took place at approximately 1:16 a.m. on March 5, when Officer Heidelberg and Officer Victoria Allee responded to the 3300-block of Eagle Cove for a report of a burglary alarm, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.
At the time, Officer Allee was working as a probationary officer, and Officer Heidelberg was her field training officer, KOSA reported.
When they arrived, the officers circled the outside of the residence on foot, and found nothing unusual, according to court documents.
That’s when Officer Heidelberg realized the front door of the home was not secured, and notified dispatch, KOSA reported.
Two other officers arrived at the scene just in time to “hear [Officer] Heidelberg announce Midland Police Department,” court documents read, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
Suddenly, a gunshot rang out.
One officer asked the other three if they were alright, and everyone responded that they were, KOSA reported.
He said he then heard a noise, and saw Officer Heidelberg lying face down on the ground.
Realizing that Officer Heidelberg had been shot just above his vest, the assisting officer attempted to deliver life-saving care before the wounded officer was rushed to Midland Memorial Hospital.
Officer Heidelberg succumbed to his gunshot wound at approximately 2:20 a.m.
Wilson later told police that he thought someone was breaking into his home, so he fired in the direction of Officer Heidelberg’s illuminated flashlight.
Midland Police Department (MPD) Deputy Chief Michael Hedrick said that the sudden loss of Officer Heidelberg has been a “nightmare” for his department, KOSA reported.
“Words can’t describe how painful it is to lose a friend, lose a colleague, lose one of your subordinates, one of your employees,”, Chief Hedrick said. “You train with these guys, you eat with these guys, you pray with these guys, you know their families. We’re in mourning.”
“It’s very painful. It shocks it right through the bone through the core of our system,” he added.
Officer Heidelberg was a five-year veteran of the MPD.
“[He] represented the best in all of us,” Midland Police Chief Seth Herman said in a Facebook post. “He was courageous, selfless, ethical and professional.”
“Nathan treated others with respect, regardless of their demeanor or actions. He was a tireless public servant who devoted every ounce of energy to this profession, the citizens and his fellow officers,” Chief Herman continued. “We have lost not only a great officer, but a loving brother and the most positive example of what we should all aspire to be. I wish I was more like Nathan."
Wilson faces between two and 20 years in prison if he is convicted of manslaughter, Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf told KOSA.