Friends remember Nathan "Hayden" Heidelberg as positive, outgoing

Published: Mar. 7, 2019 at 9:07 AM CST
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Midland is mourning the loss of Officer Nathan "Hayden" Heidelberg after he was killed in a shooting on Tuesday morning.

On Wednesday CBS7 learned more about the young man behind the police badge.

Friends of Heidelberg praised him for his positivity, his caring heart and his outgoing personality.

While many knew him as Nathan, some friends called him Hayden and others even knew him by the nickname 'Big Country.'

Officer Heidelberg served with the Midland Police Department for the past five years, but he was a member of the Midland community for practically his entire life.

Heidelberg and his family attended First Baptist Church of Midland, according to Pastor Darin Wood.

Wood tells CBS7 that Heidelberg attended school there when he was young before going to Midland High School, Midland College, and Sul Ross State University where he was a graduate of the biology program.

"Sul Ross State University is saddened to learn that Officer Nathan “Hayden” Heidelberg from the Midland Police Department lost his life in the line of duty this week. Heidelberg was a graduate of Sul Ross’ biology program and later chose to serve in law enforcement. Please join me and our University family in expressing our deepest condolences to his family and friends," stated Sul Ross President Dr. Bill Kibler in a release.

"He always wanted to be a cop, always. That was his life goal," said Kelan McLelland, a friend of Heidelberg.

Police work wasn't the only focus in Heidelberg's life. He also had a love for playing the guitar.

"He and my buddy Ricky, they had a band, and they were just trying to go places, when he was all 'Ricky and the Rhinestones' he was the lead guitarist," McLelland tells CBS7.

Before joining the police force, Heidelberg also worked as a bouncer at the Rockin Rodeo.

"He was good at fighting, even though he didn't like to fight...he was good at it," McLelland laughed, "(He) made sure that no trouble started."

During their time as bouncers, Heidelberg and McLelland shared the goal of becoming first responders: One as a police officer and the other as an EMT.

"Probably wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't for him, he always made sure, 'Hey you okay? You doing good? Keep going man, keep going you're going to make it, you're going to make it'...he always pushed me to do better," said McLelland.

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