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.

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(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.

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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:

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“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