Homeowner Charged with Manslaughter, Forced to Surrender Firearms for Shooting Alleged Burglar

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David Allen Pettersen.

David Allen Pettersen of Madelia, Minnesota shot and killed 19-year-old Nicolas Thomas Embertson last Saturday, reports TwinCities.com.

Pettersen came across Embertson while the teen was allegedly “casing” the 64-year-old’s home for a future burglary. Embertson wasn’t alone, he was accompanied by Kyle Thomas Nason, 18, and Cornelius Ayers Jr., 18.

The trio searched the outside of the house, checking various doors and windows to see if they were locked around 7 a.m. Saturday. The noise from their searching woke up Pettersen who was sleeping in bed.

Pettersen opened up the door and confronted Nason who was up on the deck. Nason jumped off the deck and broke his ankle. Pettersen went and grabbed his .45-caliber handgun before heading outside.

The teens made their way back to the car. With Embertson in the driver seat, the trio drove in front of Pettersen who opened fire on the vehicle, shooting three times from a distance of about 10 feet. According to the police complaint, Pettersen said he was trying to shoot out the front driver’s side tire.

“I think I’ve been hit,” Embertson told his friends. He would soon lose consciousness and eventually die from the wound.

Meanwhile, Pettersen called 911 to report the incident.

Nick Embertson.

Following the incident, Pettersen was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. He was released from jail Monday on the condition that he would turn over his firearms to authorities.

“The law does say a self-defense law, but what we’ve gathered so far, we feel we have enough to charge him with second-degree manslaughter,” Watonwan County Chief Deputy Jeremy Nachreiner told KEYC-TV in Mankato.

The surviving teens were not charged, at least at the time of this report. However, Watonwan County Attorney Stephen Lindee acknowledged the role they played in the incident.

“They were certainly in the wrong to begin with,” Lindee said.

But once “they were leaving, presenting no more risk to him,” Lindee said. That made it negligent for Pettersen to shoot a gun at them, Lindee said.

The incident is still under investigation.

{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Rob Pincus July 14, 2017, 12:39 pm

    Misleading Headline Much?

    This guy used a gun in a recklessly inappropriate way. He took the plea deal and got off easy.

  • mike June 9, 2017, 10:16 pm

    ok, so you DON’T kill him and 2weeks later he comes back and instead of YOU who he KNOWS is dangerous, he robs and rapes and murders the 60 year old neighbor lady that lives up the block all alone. How you feel now? The law is flawed! It’s up to Jury Nullification to fix it. If we all had any balls we would NEVER INDICT A HOMEOWNER THAT WAS BROKEN IN ON BECAUSE EVEN IF THERE WAS NO WEAPON EVIDENT OR INTENT TO DO HARM THIS TIME, THESE SCUMBAG ANIMALS ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE THEIR VOCATION!!! AND NEXT TIME THEY MAY COME ARMED AND CHOOSE AN EASIER TARGET!! JMHO!!!!

    • Rob Pincus July 14, 2017, 12:42 pm

      Wrong…. this “homeowner” was ill prepared and lost control of himself or had a poor plan to begin with.

      We can learn from his horrible mistake(s) … but, the more bravado filled static there is, the more gun owners will potentially get the impression that his behavior was acceptable. And, FWIW, the more people on the fence about gun rights will fall to the Anti-Gun Side because we look like bloodthirsty idiots.

      Don’t shoot people unless you NEED to, to protect yourself or others. -Rob

  • Uncle Dave April 14, 2017, 11:09 am

    Things not taught in self-defense courses:
    Open door at night, confront unknown threat.
    Chase threat with gun.
    Shoot at threat who is attempting to leave.

  • Fred Ziffle February 7, 2017, 8:37 am

    Its easy to “armchair quarterback” after the fact, but anyone might have reacted the same way in a similar situation. I know I would have WANTED to shoot the punks. Do know whether or not I would have, but the urge would have been there for sure. We (as a country and thanks to liberal programming) have become far to complacent about and accepting of criminal behavior. You don’t want to have your head blown off? Then don’t go lurking around a person’s home looking for ways to break in.

  • Scott February 4, 2017, 12:53 pm

    Homeowner was correctly charged. What the hell was he thinking? A) Property crimes never rise to the level of lethal violence, 2) The young criminals had not entered his home so the Castle doctrine could not be invoked. This homeowner is the kind of idiot that gives responsible gun owners a bad name.

    • Derek February 15, 2017, 3:07 pm

      Scott, you’re right on the money! People that keep guns in the homes, cars or carry on their person, MUS be familiar with the Castle Doctrine! It lays it all out so you know what actions “should” be following the laws. I live in AZ. It’s legal here to both open carry and conceal carry your sidearm. Almost daily I carry my XDm 9 MM, with a 20 round clip. I make sure I’m always up to date on the gun laws in my state. Every year or so, I review the Castle Doctrine, which I’ll link below. This guy that shot at a retreating vehicle, was way out of line and so he was properly charged. You cannot shoot a trespasser either, unless they are a threat to you and brandishing a weapon. The only time you can shoot “legally” on your property, is when a person has broken in or gained entry to your home and appears to be a threat. ALL GUN OWNERS SHOULD READ The Castle Doctrine!! It will keep our ass on the right side of the law and hopefully out of jail, should the situation arise.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_doctrine

      • BR549 June 9, 2017, 10:44 am

        If I were on true Grand Jury, Petterson would get a free pass. Anyone trespassing should be forced to show they had nothing other than good intentions. If the front doorbell worked and Embertson and crew were merely seeking to use a telephone to report and accident or an emergency, their actions in requesting assistance would have immediately put them under the homeowners control; i.e. openly making their presence known to the homeowner.

        Now, if there was no door bell or the bell was inoperative, that should be strike one against the homeowner because it limits the degree with which an average citizen could interface with a homeowner, even outside of hours usually considered appropriate for such interface.

        The one problem that Castle Doctrine avoids is that if these kids wanted in (and the law currently protects them if they can only get their lily-white asses into the retreat mode), they’ll just pay more attention next time and make sure the homeowner is away before trying to rob him AGAIN. Of course, Emberston won’t be joining them.

        Bottom line here is that if the kids had the best of intentions, they would have been knocking at the front door or ringing the door bell; CLEARLY, recognizing the rights of the homeowner. These kids were NOT there representing Welcome Wagon. And if Petterson is being held and happens to be living alone, his place is just ripe for being robbed. Even if Peterson was found not guilty, he would have still been the victim of the intended crime.

  • Gary February 4, 2017, 10:51 am

    Anyone consider that this MY NOT BE THE TRUE OR ENTIRE STORY of what may or may NOT have happened?
    It wouldn’t be the first BS story the “unbiased news networks” have ran guys.
    Or..Maybe it is. Who knows?
    I however tend to doubt EVERYTHING in the media today guys. But, maybe that’s just me.
    Innocent until PROVEN guilty guys.

  • Tiburcio February 4, 2017, 3:35 am

    Well he should have shot all 3, it’s fucked up when you know what they were up to but law enforcement can’t do anything to help good citizens who can’t live in peace when you have garbage like them lurking in your neighborhood ,fuck those punks

  • Michael Niese February 4, 2017, 1:59 am

    Should have waited until they came in, then plug them.

  • Connery Sean February 3, 2017, 6:15 pm

    Couple questions.

    1. What level of education did these young purps received?
    2. Do they have jobs?
    3. Where do they live?

    These 3 were more than likely HS dropouts or proud GED holders, jobless, and still under the roof of their parents house thus their “supervision”…No place on this earth anymore for uneducated, reckless, jobless kids creeping around other people’s property. Has to be fixed before all hell breaks loose. No moral compass for kids anymore…

    • Gary February 4, 2017, 11:52 am

      Let’s say the answers to ALL your questions are negitive answers. Does that give them the RIGHT to be out looking for houses or people to rob??
      I for one don’t give a damn about WHY criminals turn out or are criminals!! I got tired of that excuse 40 YEARS AGO!!
      The largest CAUSE of crime in this country today is TOLERANCE.
      We worry more about WHY these skin bags commit crimes than we do about putting them in prison for DOING them!!

  • Robert February 3, 2017, 5:05 pm

    No winners in this situation. Bad choices all around.

  • Ricky Price February 3, 2017, 5:02 pm

    You can’t shoot someone if they are running from you. The threat is over, if he running to you and arm. That is different.

    • Levi February 3, 2017, 5:49 pm

      Depends on the states laws and what they have done.

      • Derek February 15, 2017, 3:14 pm

        You cannot shot a retreating party in any state. They’re no longer considered a threat. Even if they shot a family member and fleeing the scene, you cannot play judge and jury and decide to take the law into your own hands. Read this article about what’s allowed by law for all that aren’t LEO’s. It may keep you out of jail.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_doctrine

        • Pops45 June 9, 2017, 12:34 pm

          In our state a few years ago, a man shot and killed a burglar who had just stolen his truck and was driving away. He was charged, and acquitted by the jury. He had claimed he was still in fear for his life, although it was proven the vehicle was driving away from him. This was more of a jury nullification, he was incredibly lucky. His lawyer’s fee cost way more than his truck. Something to think about.

        • Josh June 19, 2017, 12:19 pm

          Not saying I would want to test it but under common law the fleeing felon rule applies not only to law enforcement but also victims and bystanders.

  • jerry smith February 3, 2017, 4:38 pm

    It is very simple really. If they are running at you shoot them. If they are running away from you do not shoot them. If you shoot someone running at you it is self defence. If you shoot someone running away from you it is your entire life savings to try to stay out of prison. Let them run.

    • Derek February 15, 2017, 3:21 pm

      That’s it! The same in all 50 states. Personally, I’m not going to jail because I had a “bad shooting!” Shooting any fleeing criminal, no matter what, will land you in jail for a long time. You’ll lose all your savings, a house if you own one, your wife will probably leave you, etc. To make it worse, the scumbags family will come after all of your assets via lawsuits. There’s other ways to get retribution, if needed.

  • sunaj February 3, 2017, 4:28 pm

    Let us hope for “JURY NULLIFICATION,” you break into someone’s house when people are home THIS IS VERY GRAVE often terminal, torture, rape, abduction, they pay the price

  • Jim February 3, 2017, 3:23 pm

    Many of the comments made here are so stupid that they truly defy description. Some of you sound like illiterate cave dwellers and even though I am a gun owner and 2A supporter – it scares me to think you are also armed.

    • Pat February 13, 2017, 7:11 pm

      The thing some of you people don’t realize if there was an unlocked window or door they would have been in the house, they new more than likely someone was home? That tells me they would have done whatever it takes not to get caught even kill? A possible murderer was killed I’m not crying?

  • Jeremy Watson February 3, 2017, 2:07 pm

    Every move and action taken once becoming the offensive aggressor, must be carefully thought out, even to what would I do in this or that situation, so that when it is necessary, you will be well prepaid as to how you will react in all possible situations.

    Saving a life is precious and according to Constitutional law, all accused are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law with the accused having the right to fair trial by jury, if he chooses to do so.

    All Constitutional loving patriots should already know and understand those protected rights of all US citizens under the constitution.

    Being that the kid had a broken ankle, he should not had been to hard to catch and apprehended.

  • Sam February 3, 2017, 1:27 pm

    I believe the message here is if you are committing a crime and pretend to be running away you are safe from ANY responsibility. This only supports the idea that if you raise your hands and walk away from the police while being told to stop or get down saves you from arrest . This sounds like behavior common to the great state of Californicate but with a state that would elect a wrestler as governor or a Saturday Night Live comedian as a senator this doesn’t surprise me .

    • JohnJ February 3, 2017, 2:50 pm

      The worst crime he actually committed was trespassing (regardless of whether he was contemplating burglary) and he wasn’t “pretending” to run away – he was running away. Fleeing the scene of a trespass is not a capital offense. Whether the two surviving teens will be charged remains to be seen. And walking away from a crime with your hands up certainly won’t prevent you from being arrested, but it shouldn’t result in your being shot in the back by police. Let’s keep it real here. The issue is “resonable use of deadly force,” and this certainly doesn’t sound like it.

      • Levi February 3, 2017, 5:56 pm

        Correct. Cops can not commit crimes, just ask them.

  • Ben February 3, 2017, 1:15 pm

    Too bad he’s up north, in Texas he could plead out to a lesser charge (reckless conduct) and get 2 years probation. Or, he could take it to court and use the “He needed killing” defense…

  • Ken J. February 3, 2017, 12:33 pm

    Further cause for requiring every 1st time gun buyer to take a very rudimentary course in the legalities of shooting at humans. It wouldn’t even take an hour to teach someone when you can and cannot shoot. This guy has no defense, not even ignorance, because you can even look it up on-line as to when you are justified to shoot at someone.

    Some of the comments here as so ignorant that they defy having an ounce of intelligence.

    • Pops45 June 9, 2017, 12:38 pm

      Ken, to add to your comment, gun owners shouldn’t wait for that requirement, they should look into their state laws right now.

  • skipNclair February 3, 2017, 12:31 pm

    Every action receives a reaction, the first action was by these thugs, the reaction was that of someone that felt danger or threatened. Had the first action not taken place we would bot be reading about this, While I do not agree with what he did, for the inherent danger of a stray or ricochet could have incurred or killed another including a child, I cannot judge what he did as being caught up in the moment with juices flowing can make us all react a little different. There are times when caught up in the moment can result in great results , and other times when we have this situation. Again had the thug or thugs not been there to begin with this is a did not happen.

  • Eric in Sacramento February 3, 2017, 12:11 pm

    Obviously, we can’t shoot at people who pose no threat to us. However, I notice police have a habit of standing in front, or near the front, of a car and then shooting the driver, claiming they feared for their lives. I wouldn’t have shot at burglars on their way out, but it seems police get away with this kind of killing regularly. I know it’s their job, and not mine, to bring in the bad guys, but if this guy was a police officer, you can bet there’d be no arrest or charges. I’m completely, totally against the police having the ability to kill for this reason but not non-law enforcement citizens. (Now having said that, every gun store in California has a section labeled “these guns for law enforcement purchase only.” I admit we’ve come very far down this path.)

  • gary February 3, 2017, 12:03 pm

    you can not carry the fight to a fleeing felon that no longer poses a threat. SORRY, he was in the wrong unless he can prove as stated previously they were trying to run him over. But, that bus has already left the terminal.

  • Larry February 3, 2017, 11:58 am

    I think if the car was 10 feet away from him & he shot at it, they must have been trying to run him down. That would be ADW (assault with a deadly weapon) & make him justified to protect himself. It appears that it will be up to a jury to find him innocent so he can then go after that officious DA’s department for malicious prosecution. Good luck home owner.

  • Mister Ronald February 3, 2017, 11:41 am

    They should give this home owner a medal. These three thugs cased his mome so they could come back to either Invade or burglarize in the future.
    If he was home when they came back, they probably would have killed him.
    This guy did the world a great service and I wish he would have shot all three of them.
    Believe me when i say “””” THERE IS NOT TO MUCH WORSE IN LIFE AS COMING HOME TO FIND YOUR HOME HAS BEEN MOLESTED AND YOUR PROPERTY IS GONE””””””
    Well, one thing worse is if you are home and the burglar kills you and your family.
    They need to let this home owner go and give him his guns back.

    • Jack February 5, 2017, 1:17 pm

      Thank you Mister Ronald. I was thinking the same as I listen to these pious armchair district attorney wannabes try to shame the home owner. It’s easy to run your mouth while your possessions and family are safe. I assure all of you that coming home after a hard days work to find your home burglarized will change you forever. You will show no mercy to anyone that tries to make you a victim after that. In my case they were high school thugs that skipped school, stole a car and burglarized homes. No property was recovered because they were juveniles and were handled like babies. Infuriating!!! Once you experience this you’ll never speak so smug about legalities of defending your home. You will eliminate all threats to your home and family whether the criminals are adults or kids running at you or from you won’t matter. Oh and by the way home burglary makes you a victim twice, first by the criminals and second by apathy of the police and the fact they are more concerned about the criminals having their rights protected than yours. It’s not like the movies folks. Also stolen is your sense of well being, you’ll never feel comfortable in your home or leaving you home again. You have to move and start over. Unless you’ve been there you have no right to judge those that have. So you armchair lawyers stop with the loud proud mouth about laws, felony vs misdemeanor and rights of criminals too. Defending your home is an inalienable right however you have to do it. The only mistake this guy made was not eliminating all of them. Never leave a living witness, it only helps the prosecutor against you, then they get a lawyer to come at you with a civil case which victimized you yet again and finally they might come back for revenge someday and who needs that worry hanging over themselves.

      • Pops45 June 9, 2017, 1:03 pm

        Jack, I have been there, come home, found my house robbed by friends of my teenager, who was also involved. You feel violated, betrayed and in my case a direct threat to my teen for testifying against them. Found out they only got 3 months jail time. Needless to say I was on edge for at least two years. They were meth users which makes them violent, desperate and complete unable to think of the future consequences of their actions.My teen moved out of state and the punks got arrested for later crimes and got longer sentences. So I get what you are saying, unfortunately the prosecutors won’t care. In my case I have to consider what happens to my family if I am not there because an overzealous prosecutor successfully charges me for manslaughter? I’m just saying know the laws, because you have to protect yourself from the bad guys and the system.

  • Mac February 3, 2017, 9:32 am

    I’m as pro-gun as anyone, but this is further proof that gunowners…certainly new/first-time owners…should indeed be required to undergo some type of training in the use and legalities of this responsibility. This gunowner was no dummy with his story of trying to shoot out a tire…either that or he was the worst shot in the world at only 10 feet away, in which case he shouldn’t own a gun. Yes, maybe it was a fatal ricochet, but he should have never fired in the first place under the circumstances…and he knew that, if after the fact/too late.

    • Thomas Jefferson February 3, 2017, 11:52 am

      Mr. Pettersen’s made 2 mistakes.
      1. Not killing all 3, and
      2. Calling the police.
      I used to raise hogs. They are good for many things besides eating.

    • Alan February 3, 2017, 12:09 pm

      Yeah, lets make a ‘requirement’ and give the gun grabbers one more weapon to use against us.
      Look, if you’re an adult, and you shoot someone, you are responsible, period.
      We don’t need more ‘Rules’ to make sure people are competent with a gun, the Constitution makes NO Guarantee of ANYONE’s safety, just the right to defend it.
      Some of the worst words ever spoken are “there ought to be a law”!

      • Pops45 June 9, 2017, 12:47 pm

        Alan, you also raise a good point. They make a course a requirement then charge big $$$. In our state, when you apply for a carry permit, they give you a pamphlet with a brief rundown on the laws for carry and defense. It’s a little light on the defense part, since we are a liberal controlled state, but it’s probably good enough to keep you out of trouble. They could give these out with every gun purchase.

  • Cyrus February 3, 2017, 8:26 am

    Idiot is going to Jail and spending every last penny he might have defending himself. As we all know, the perpetrator has to pose a clear and present danger to oneself or family, which includes breaking “Inside” the home. When that has ceased so does shooting anyone! They are fleeing so call the Police and let them do their job. Even a warning shot in the air as they are fleeing can wind you in jail for discharging a firearm within city limits. I don’t need these kind of money draining problems!

  • Mike February 3, 2017, 8:14 am

    This is a very good article. It should be read by all gun owners.
    We 2A people don’t need any bad publicity.

  • DRAINO February 3, 2017, 8:08 am

    It’s sad that this will be exploited by people on the left saying that guns need to be taken away from everyone. But I have a hard time believing that these kids will be looking for houses to rob……..at least not in the near future. One would hope that all who hear this story would understand…..If you choose a thief’s life……you may get lucky and try to rob someone with a level head…..and survive. BUT….If not so lucky…..you could get shot, even killed….by someone like this guy. Question you have to ask yourself is….do you feel lucky, Punk? Well do ya???

    • FusionPilot June 9, 2017, 12:11 pm

      The untold story – if they had gotten away clean, their next target may have been an elderly person at home alone, unarmed, and ripe for burglary, assault, and possibly murder. Just seems they stumbled on the wrong house. Good riddance.

  • akjc77 February 3, 2017, 7:39 am

    This story proves fact that buying a gun is the least of requirements to protecting one self! Ya gotta study the law well in your exact state and area, if ya are confused bout any aspect contact local Sherriff or lawyer, and just as important learn utmost safety and operation of your specific firearm. Go practice regularly at a range. You may say duh Einstein but it never ceases to amaze me how many ppl just buy the gun and hope they get to try it out shooting a person! It should never be a desire to harm or kill anyone but that said You should never allow Your family to be harmed either! I think this guy got too adrenalized and was too eager to try his gun out now he has a mess. However I’m sure the type of area one lives in can influence a decision to use deadly force if you live in a Chicago ghetto you might feel in more danger than you would in same situation in a rural town? A burgular alarm is a good first defense it may scare off more timid suspects as well as alert you? Any stranger that isn’t scared off by alarm is likely to become a deadly threat.

  • Chick February 3, 2017, 5:28 am

    You cannot be shooting at someone, or their tires, in this situation. That man is toast.

    • Daniel Mcamoil February 3, 2017, 9:39 am

      What if the kids were trying to drive over him? In the heat of battle its a hard call to say..

      • ChiGurh18 February 3, 2017, 11:57 am

        That’s what I was thinking. He could plead that he was shooting to stop the threat of him being ran over. His only mistake was even talking to the authorities without a lawyer present. Never talk to LEO without a lawyer, no matter the circumstances. Their job is to use any statement you make against you.

    • JD February 3, 2017, 2:35 pm

      This response sounds like it was made by someone with a criminal mentality that wants a safe environment for criminals .

  • Tj2000 February 3, 2017, 5:04 am

    It’s people like this who are to stupid to read the law. When the threat is gone you are not allowed to shoot at a fleeing suspect. I to have had several young guys come to my house and start beating on the back door. When I came to the door with my 45 pointing at them , two of the four actually pee’d in their pants. They got the numbers on the house backwards and thought they where at a friends house.
    I called the neighbor to verify their story and they did. I explained to the young men you don’t go beating on someone’s back door yelling for them to come out. I did call 911 to report the incident and all was good. Except for the two that had pee all down their pants.
    The bottom line is it is your responsibility to keep your cool and obey the laws on when to shoot and not to shoot.
    Tj

  • Mark N. February 3, 2017, 1:48 am

    My crystal ball says there are bars and orange clothing in his future. It is idiocy such as this that leads to laws requiring training to own a handgun. When the bad guys run, you are finished “pertectin’ mah propity!”

  • Triple-OG-33 February 2, 2017, 3:36 pm

    The exact thing happened to me dude was on my deck trying the door. I opened it surprising him with my pistol. He immediately started a lame ass story about somebody he thought lived there.. bs we both knew what was up. I told him your came to the wrong house this time son…needless to say they both ran to their car as fast as they could. I watched did not pursue cuz there was no fight. I was amped up and ready to rock ,so keep your head. I got the plate called the cops who did nothing cuz no crime hadn’t really happened.. u can’t just drill someone cuz you feel you have been wronged.. bottom line is I like to keep my guns and freedom.. now if they had made it into the house, different story for sure..!! Keep your radar on

    • JD February 3, 2017, 2:29 pm

      You are very lucky these thugs didn’t gather reinforcements and weapons to return in retaliation .
      Or are they planning for a return at a later date ????????????????
      I hope you have more than one gun and don’t live alone .

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