The body of a West Texas police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty arrived in Fort Worth Tuesday afternoon.
State and local law enforcement escorted the body of Midland Police Officer Nathan Heidelberg to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, who will perform the autopsy.
Officer Heidelberg was shot and killed in what Midland police are calling a case of mistaken identity. They say he was responding to a home security alarm when he was shot and killed early Tuesday by the owner of the home who believed he was being burglarized.
City officials in Midland say that Officer Nathan Heidelberg died after being struck by gunfire just above his protective vest.
A police statement says Heidelberg, a probationary officer and two other officers were outside the home and loudly announced their presence from the open front door. But the homeowner, who wasn't identified, believed his home was being burglarized and fired shots at the flashlight Heidelberg held. Heidelberg died later at a hospital.
“We are hurting. we are hurting to the core right now,” said Midland Deputy Chief Michael Hedrick. “This is the first officer in well over 30 years that the Midland Police Department has lost. It's shaken us to the core.”
According to Midland news reports, the homeowner, David Wilson, has been charged with manslaughter. His bond was set at $75,000.
Fort Worth officers heard his body was being transported to North Texas and wanted to make sure he received a proper tribute.
“It definitely hits close to home for us,” said Officer Jimmy Pollozani with the Fort Worth chapter of the Brotherhood of the Fallen. “And we are just trying to be there for the family, the community and the respective agency that's mourning the loss of their hero.”
Heidelberg was a field training officer who had been employed by the department for five years. He is the first Midland officer to die in the line of duty since 1961.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.