Music education fund in memory of man killed in Friday shooting - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Music education fund in memory of man killed in Friday shooting

Paul Heenan/Facebook Photo Paul Heenan/Facebook Photo

OREGON (WKOW) -- Some light is coming out of Friday's shooting that killed a man. Paul Heenan's family is hoping to use his love of music to bring new opportunities to aspiring young musicians.

Throughout his life, music was an important part of 30-year-old Paul Heenan's daily routine. In the past few days, we've learned from friends that Heenan was living in New York pursuing a music career, but recently returned to Madison to work as a recording engineer for a local studio.

"Paulie helped us build the [studio], he was coming of age, I think he was 18 at the time we opened the doors," says owner of DNA Music Labs in Madison, Mark Whitcomb. "He was always a solid worker, super brilliant, smart.. he was the greatest guy you would ever want to have on your team."

But a misunderstanding ended the musician's career. Madison police say Heenan was shot and killed early Friday morning during a confrontation with an officer who was responding to a 911 call of a possible burglary.

Police Chief Noble Wray says Heenan didn't obey Officer Stephen Heimsness' commands to get down, when the officer saw what he thought was a struggle with a burglar. Police believe Heenan approached Heimsness and tried to grab his gun. That's when Heimsness shot and killed Heenan.

Later, police learned Heenan lived on the street and had accidentally entered the wrong house while trying to get home.

As a teenager, Heenan spent a lot of time in the Oregon High School orchestra room. There, he played cello, guitar and wrote music. Orchestra director Leyla Sanyer says music was always Heenan's biggest passion, and he was one of the best musicians in his class.

"It was very much a part of his daily life and he couldn't imagine himself not being a musician," says Sayner. "This was his love, and he went on to make it his life, even."

It's a life of music that he'll pass along, even in death. The Heenan family's wishes are that any memorial funds go directly to the orchestra, in Paul Heenan's name. They plan to buy recording equipment and build a small studio, which will be a lasting memory of Heenan for years to come.

"It's a small piece of good thoughts, you know, with that a small piece of hope that he will have liked to know that we thought that highly of him," says Sanyer.

If you'd like to help fund sound equipment for the Oregon Orchestra program in Heenan's name, you can donate to Friends of the Orchestra:

Oregon Friends of the Orchestra
c/o Oregon High School
456 N. Perry Pkwy
Oregon, WI 53575

or email for more information.

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