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Charges: Nick Firkus Shot Wife In The Back With Shotgun Amid Financial Troubles

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A 38-year-old Mounds View man is accused of fatally shooting his wife in the back with a shotgun the day before their home was set to be foreclosed on. He was arrested and charged over 10 years later.

According to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, Nick Firkus faces one felony count of second-degree murder in connection to the April 25, 2010 death of Heidi Firkus.

Nick Firkus
Nick Firkus (credit Dakota Co. Attorney's Office)

On the morning of the incident, 911 dispatch received two hang-up calls from a cell phone registered to Heidi Firkus. A third call was made and Heidi Firkus told a 911 operator that someone was trying to break into her house, located on Minnehaha Avenue in St. Paul. Thirty-eight seconds into the call, she was giving dispatch the address when a noise similar to a gunshot was heard and Heidi Firkus stopped talking.

There was no significant background noise on the call and Heidi Firkus did not say anything that would suggest an intruder entered the home before the gunshot was heard, the complaint said. Dispatch attempted to call Heidi Firkus back, but the calls went to voicemail.

About a minute later, Nick Firkus called 911 "highly emotional" and said someone had broken into their home and that both of them had been shot trying to run out the back to the garage.

When officers arrived, they found Heidi Firkus dead in the kitchen from a gunshot wound and Nick Firkus alive with a gunshot wound to his leg. Nick Firkus' injury was a through-and-through gunshot wound; he was treated and released from the hospital after a few hours.

According to the complaint, Nick Firkus gave differing accounts of the incident in several interviews. In the first interview, he said one or possibly two people broke into the house, that he got the shotgun and as they were trying to escape to the garage, one of the suspects was able to take the shotgun from him and shoot both of them. In another interview, he said that there was a struggle with the suspects, his finger slipped and the gun went off. He said he was shot during a second struggle with a suspect.


Nick Firkus said that, in addition to being behind on their bills, their house was going to be foreclosed on the next day. He told police that he didn't tell any friends or family about the foreclosure, but that they needed to be out of the house that next day. He was the only one that attended the eviction hearing the month before.

According to the complaint, the evidence shows that Heidi Firkus didn't know of the financial troubles or the foreclosure. The law firm handling the foreclosure only had contact with Nick Firkus. Heidi Firkus never mentioned any financial troubles to friends, family or co-workers.

Despite needing to be out of the house, absolutely no packing had been done.

The couple also owed US Bank over $1,700 and had over $17,000 in debt on a REI credit card.

Investigators could not find unidentified DNA profiles in a test swab of the shotgun. There was also insufficient genetic information from DNA swabs of the entry door.

The complaint says the trajectory of how Heidi Firkus was shot did not align with how Nick Firkus described the incident. Despite Nick Firkus' report of a life or death struggle just inside the front door, a small table in very close proximity was undisturbed.

An autopsy determined Heidi Firkus died of a single shotgun wound to the back, with no exit wound. The manner of death was homicide.


St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell and other law enforcement agencies held a press conference announcing the charges.

"Today, we're one step closer to getting justice for Heidi," Axtell said. "This is a tragic case that touches us all deeply."

Axtell says the investigation never stopped, and he credits all the investigators who "poured their hearts" into the case, including Sgt. Nichole Sipes, who picked up the case 18 months ago.

"The fact that we had a victim that there had never been any justice for, and a family that was left behind to wonder what happened and why they have this loss, that's what spoke to me about this case," Sipes, a homicide investigator, said.

Heidi Firkus' family said in a statement that it has been a tough but important day for them.

Nick Firkus was arrested at his home in Mounds View Wednesday morning and booked into Ramsey County Jail. He made his first appearance in court Thursday morning, where his bail was set at $3 million. His next court appearance will be on July 1. If convicted, Nick Firkus could face up to 40 years in prison.

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