Authorities said Trafalgar residents heard gunshots and bullets flying around their neighborhood as a man fired a gun in and at his home before leading police on a chase and killing himself.
The man, Frederick Heller, pulled out a handgun and shot himself in his car after police stopped him on County Road 300S near State Road 135 on Wednesday, police said.
The cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz said.
About 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Heller began shooting in his house at 881 W. Pearl St., firing multiple rounds into the basement and at the walls, Trafalgar Town Marshal Kurt Heminger said. Heller also went outside and shot several rounds into the exterior walls of the home, which is when nearby residents in Spring Lakes Estates subdivision called police, Heminger said.
The house is being foreclosed on for about $117,000 and was set to be auctioned in a sheriff’s sale Aug. 21. Officers found several vindictive notes in the house, Heminger said, but he declined to release details about the content of the notes.
No one else was at the home at the time, Heminger said. Police found several holes where bullets penetrated the exterior walls and believe some of the rounds may have flown off the property, he said.
No injuries were reported, and no other damage to nearby homes or property had been found, he said.
Heminger was coaching a softball game about a mile from Heller’s home and said he clearly recognized the sound of gunshots.
“Everyone that was outside in their yards heard the gunfire. The people who understood what gunfire sounded like called police, and the other people called 911 for fireworks,” Heminger said. “It’s kind of a disturbing call. Our officers were looking for a fireworks call, and it ended up happening so fast. They were really very lucky something else didn’t happen.”
Officers responding to the call were passed by Heller’s red car leaving the subdivision. Police turned around and followed him at a high speed north on State Road 135 with their lights and sirens on. Heller turned east onto County Road 300S and stopped
As officers got out of the car they could see him lift a handgun inside the car near the rearview mirror, Heminger said. Heller fired a single shot in the car, killing himself.
Police searched the house and found numerous spent casings.
Officers found a magazine from an SKS assault rifle that had two rounds remaining in it, Heminger said. The handgun Heller used to shoot himself also had two rounds remaining in the clip, he said.
Most of the shots appeared to have been fired inside the house, where Heller was shooting into the basement, Heminger said.
The sun was setting as police were investigating, and no one had reported any damage by Thursday morning, Heminger said.
Anyone who does find damage on a property should contact Trafalgar Police Department at 317-878-2174.