Patrolman Tim Nielson
Joplin Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, September 13, 2004
Tour of Duty: 4 yrs
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Explosion
Date of Incident: Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Patrolman Nielson succumbed to injuries sustained one month earlier when a house exploded as a result of being filled with natural gas.
Patrolman Nielson and another officer had responded to the residence to investigate reports of a suicidal man. When the officers arrived, they located the man in the backyard, but he suddenly ran into the house. The officers followed him into the house and were inside for several minutes when the house suddenly exploded.
Patrolman Nielson sustained burns to 45% of his body and was partially trapped in the wreckage of the home. The other officer sustained burns to 30% of his body and remained in critical condition for several weeks.
Investigation revealed that, prior to the arrival of the officers, the suspect had disconnected the natural gas line from his stove and turned the valve on to its highest setting. The house filled with gas while the man was outside. After the officers chased the man into the home, one of the officers fired a taser at the man. The spark from the taser may have caused the gas to ignite, resulting in the explosion.
Patrolman Nielson had served with the Joplin Police Department for 4 years. He is survived by his wife, two children, parents, and siblings.