Report: Neighbor yelled to officer he knew Heenan - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Report: Neighbor yelled to officer he knew Heenan

Photo: Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Photo: Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Photo: Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Photo: Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

MADISON (WKOW) -- The owner of a home mistakenly entered by an intoxicated neighbor who was shot and killed by a Madison police officer says he tried repeatedly to inform the officer that the intruder was someone known to him, according to a report from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Paul Heenan was shot and killed by officer Stephen Heimsness, who was responding to a report of a burglary in the early morning hours of November 9, 2012.

In the report, Kevin O'Malley recounted events outside his east-side Madison home, saying he yelled, "He's a neighbor! He's a neighbor!"

Officer Heimsness shot Heenan three times in the upper torso and Heenan died at the scene.

Madison Police have said Heenan and the homeowner were struggling outside the home when Officer Heimsness arrived, and that Heenan refused an order to get down and coming toward the officer. 

27 News reporter Tony Galli spoke with Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne about O'Malley's comments.

"Mr. O'Malley believed or thought he had said he is a neighbor, he's a neighbor once or twice between the time he disengaged from Mr. Heenan," said Ozanne. "There is no indication to me Heimsness heard him."

Ozanne's report on the incident cleared Heimsness of criminal liability in the shooting.

Heimsness could still face discipline through a Madison Police Department internal investigation. Police have told 27 News that Chief Noble Wray expects to release the results of that internal probe early this week.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism says Megan O'Malley, who called 911 to report a break-in, said her husband's shouts of "he's a neighbor" were loud enough to be heard from inside the home.

Accounts of the shooting released by the Madison Police Department and Dane County District Attorney's Office make no mention of O'Malley's efforts to inform Officer Heimsness that the intruder was a neighbor.

"I didn't put every statement into my conclusion, there may be statements attributed to Mr. Heenan that are not in my decision," said Ozanne. "I didn't include it, but it's not that I don't think it wasn't important."

You can read the entire Center for Investigative Journalism report here.

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