By Jeff Wagner

MADELIA, Minn. (WCCO) — Family and friends of a teenager killed during an attempted home invasion say he didn’t deserve to die.

Nineteen-year-old Nicolas Embertson was shot early Saturday morning in rural Madelia.

(credit: Family of Nicolas Embertson)

(credit: Family of Nicolas Embertson)

Investigators said he and two other teenagers were planning to burglarize a home.

The homeowner caught them trying to drive away, firing his gun at their car.

The homeowner is 65-year-old David Pettersen. He faces charges of second degree manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm.

Word travels fast in a small town and Madelia is no different.

“It spread like wildfire,” Cheyanna Albrecht said regarding the news of Embertson’s death.

She works the register at Casey’s on Main Street, the same place where she learned the news that hasn’t left her mind since.

“Another co-worker had told me that [Embertson] had got shot,” she said.

Embertson was one of three teenagers investigators say visited a home off 850th Avenue early Saturday morning.

“One of the subjects spoke that they were casing the joint, which means that they were looking to burglarize it,” Wantowan County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Jeremy Nachreine said.

Court documents state homeowner David Pettersen saw one of them on his deck, grabbed his gun, then shot at their car as they tried driving away along his driveway.

“The homeowner stated that he was going to fire at the vehicle, attempting to hit one of the tires so that law enforcement could stop and identify the people that were involved in the home invasion,” said Nachreine.

One of the bullets hit Embertson. Investigators said he died later at a hospital.

“There’s some people saying he deserved [to die] because he did something stupid. Personally my opinion, he didn’t deserve it. Nobody deserves to die like that,” said Albrecht.

When we met her at Casey’s, she had already clipped an article out of the newspaper about Embertson’s death. It’s now a small reminder of a huge loss she plans to keep with her.

“It’s hard to believe that one day he was here and the next day, he isn’t here anymore,” she said.

Embertson’s family released a statement Monday night saying:

“We are struggling so terribly to come to terms with the tragic and unlawful death of our Nicolas. The personal things Nick struggled with will never define who he was to all that knew and loved him. He was a grandson, a son, a big brother, a nephew and a true compassionate friend who cared so much for those he knew and loved. He will be greatly missed and words cannot describe the huge hole that is left in our hearts and lives forever.”

Jeff Wagner

Comments (9)
  1. i don’t feel remotely sorry for the one that got shot as he tried to victimize someone but you can’t shoot suspects running away period. even if they had made it in his house you can only shoot if retreat is not practical, you reasonably fear great bodily harm or trying to prevent a felony. they should hand out literature when you buy guns to make this clear to gun owners and i am included as one.

  2. Meg Nathan says:

    I have mixed emotions on this issue. By their own confession, these boys were “casing” his place for a future robbery. If he hadn’t shot at them, they would have come back. It seems to me that these laws are weighed too much in favor of the criminals. I don’t think the homeowner should be charged. Yes, he shot at the car as it went by…but he called the police right away.

  3. Ben Boniff says:

    “Embertson was one of three teenagers investigators say visited a home off 850th Avenue early Saturday morning.”
    VISITING a home huh?
    I o am somewhat mixed as Meg states BUT they were casing e place – he has no clue if – when they might come back. He sends a strong protective message.
    It an accident – he had called the PD – why do we always have the bad guys becoming “poor victims” ?
    DROP the charges – just drop them.

  4. “The personal things Nick struggled with will never define who he was to all that knew and loved him.” I think breaking into someone’s home late at night is a rather strang indication of his “personal thing” that would define this young man. Tragic outcome but damn, what was this kid thinking?

  5. Tim Slugocki says:

    Charges should be dropped. This kid was involved in a drunk car crash last year that should have left him or the other person dead. Not very good judgement. Clearly he was already off the deep end if he was considering robbing a home after going through that.

  6. I wish the homeowner would’ve kept his cool and waited until the suspects actually entered his home. Then kill ’em. When suspects are fleeing from you it’s awfully hard to convince people you were in mortal fear for your life. You gotta be smart. That having been said, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the dead punk. He was nothing but a crook and he was destined to get worse as he got older. People who say ‘Nobody deserves to die like that’ have no idea what they’re talking about. I can think of a helluva lot of people down through history who deserve to die exactly like that.

  7. Susan Owens says:

    You can only shoot if a person is an imminent threat. Someone *leaving* is not seen as an threat.

  8. IIRC this homeowner had posted twice, with pictures, a pickup truck that had been parking on the road near his home. It was under the headline “Up to no good.”

    Those posts are no longer there but significant to me because they indicate that he was feeling stalked and in a heightened state of fear. I hope this comes out in court and speaks in his favor.

  9. The homeowner’s posts appeared on the local Craig’s List days before the shooting.