Patrolman Timothy Andrew Nielson

Patrolman Timothy Andrew Nielson

Joplin Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch Monday, September 13, 2004

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Timothy Andrew Nielson

Patrolman Timothy 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 904 S. McKinley Avenue 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. The suspect died the day after the explosion.

Patrolman Nielson had served with the Joplin Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife, two children, parents, and siblings.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Explosion
  • Incident Date Tuesday, August 10, 2004

explosion, suicidal subject

Most Recent Reflection

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I am the wife of David Riley Jr. I am so sorry about what happened. I have wanted to write to you many times but never knew how to get ahold of you personally. I have never blamed the officers at all,. They were only doing there job. If you knew what he had put me through, you wouldn't blame me for leaving him. If I had never left you would still have your men. I feel deep down he had wanted me to come there and walk in and we both would be dead. He knew as soon as I would walk in I would light a cigarette. Then we both would be gone. Again I am so sorry

Sharon Riley

Sharon Riley
Sharon Riley. Wife of the suspect

September 15, 2023

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