R.I.P. Paulie Heenan, former Solid Gold guitarist dies in Madison police dispute

Categories: Music News
paulieheenan560.jpg
Left - from myspace 2007, Right - from facebook 2012
Former Solid Gold guitarist Paulie Heenan, 30, died early Friday morning in what is being called an altercation with a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin.

In a report in Madison's Isthmus, conflicting stories suggest that this was likely a tragic misunderstanding when Heenan entered his neighbors' house accidentally while he was heading home. More information about the altercation from the arresting officers is in this story.

See Also:
Paulie Heenan remembered by Solid Gold's Matt Locher


Heenan contributed guitar work and engineered the group's 2004 EP, Out of Your Mind, and then later relocated to New York. He had recently moved back to Madison.

Solid Gold's Matt Locher spoke to City Pages on Monday, and gave us several old photographs of Heenan from the era when they were in Solid Gold together.

From Andrea Swensson's 2009 cover story on the band:
"We had a good recording process with Paul," says [Zach] Coulter. "He worked at this studio, and we were all learning together. And that's when I think we fell in love with recording. There's something about experimenting and finding something new, or something you had no idea could happen. I could do it for 20 hours a day."
A full obituary is here. In it, Heenan is called "Outgoing and engaging, with a dry and often irreverent sense of humor, Paul was the sort of person who made friends easily, and adopted many of those friends as members of his family. That so many of these friendships endured through time and distance is a testament to his genuine and caring nature."

Officer Steve Heimsness has been identified as the man who shot Heenan. Reports suggest that he's a friend of the Madison music scene. Both Heimsness and another officer at the scene have been placed on administrative leave.

On Monday, documents detailing two previous incidents with Heimsness at the center were distributed. In 2001, the officer received discipline after firing his weapon at a vehicle fleeing a parking ramp. In 2006, Madison Police internally investigated an arrest of an assault suspect made by Heimsness to determine if he used excessive force.

A visitation for Heenan is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Rd. in Madison,and the memorial service will follow at 6 p.m. Donations can be made to the Oregon High School Orchestra in his name.


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10 comments
Trevor Ludwig
Trevor Ludwig

"It more so sounds like a case of trigger happy cop killing a unarmed man." Really? Cop shows up because he's called to do so. Sees two people struggling, draws weapon and tells two people to stop. One then quickly moves toward the police officer and grabs him, and (in the judgement of the officer) at his weapon. It's pretty damn easy to point at the cop and say he was wrong when you have all of the facts after the incident, isn't it? When it's dark and you have a split second to make a decision, you typically err on keeping your weapon from falling into the wrong hands and keeping yourself safe. All evidence points to this being a horrible misunderstanding, not a trigger happy police officer.

Matthias Weigel
Matthias Weigel

You are right...tragic nonetheless. It will take some time for the truth to come out (or never...)

Michael Tejeda
Michael Tejeda

In a police altercation?!? It more so sounds like a case of trigger happy cop killing a unarmed man.

Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

misunderstanding when Heenan approached the wrong house when he was heading home. I've moved around alot and never approached the wrong house, hotel, motel, you know people are going to blame the police, (sarcasm) . Pretty sad...

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