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DA: No criminal liability in officer-involved shooting

Published On: Dec 27 2012 12:35:38 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 27 2012 02:18:18 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Prosecutors have cleared a Madison police officer who shot and killed a man last month of any criminal wrongdoing.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne released a statement Thursday saying a homeowner awoke to find his neighbor, Paul Heenan, in his house on Nov. 9.

The homeowner's wife called Madison police, reporting a home burglary. It was later discovered Heenan, 30, was new to the neighborhood and attempted entering the wrong house. Heenan had been drinking and was confused, according to police.

Officer Stephen Heimsness arrived at the scene with his weapon drawn.

Ozanne said Heimsness saw two men in a physical struggle on the sidewalk near 513 S. Baldwin St. and he recognized one of the men as the husband of the woman who had reported the break-in.

According to Ozanne's statement, both Heimsness and the homeowner said Heenan charged Heimsness, who had his gun drawn and was giving commands for Heenan to get on the ground.

The officer said there was a struggle and he thought Heenan was trying to grab his gun and he fired because he feared for his life.

Heimsness fired three shots after getting distance between him and Heenan, according to Ozanne.

Ozanne concluded Heimsness didn't violate any statutes. The prosecutor said anyone who believes he or she faces a genuine threat of deadly force can respond with deadly force.

The homeowner told police he believed Heenan was drunk and he was attempting to take him to his house down the street. He said Heenan had come at him and was pushing him backwards.

Ozanne said evidence, including witness statements, officer statements, physical evidence, State Crime Lab findings, and Medical Examiner findings are consistent with each other.

Ozanne also found the Madison Police Department conducted a thorough and objective investigation that is ongoing.

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