Home Scandal and Gossip Springfield VA shooting: NASA employee kills Maryland National Guardsman next door neighbor

Springfield VA shooting: NASA employee kills Maryland National Guardsman next door neighbor

Michael Hetle NASA
Pictured, Michael Hetle NASA civil servant and
Michael Hetle NASA and Javon Prather Maryland National Guardsman
Pictured, Michael Hetle NASA civil servant and Javon Prather Maryland National Guardsman

Springfield Virginia shooting: Michael Hetle NASA employee kills Javon Prather Maryland National Guardsman next door neighbor. Years of ongoing disagreements.

A former police officer who once shot two people dead in the line of duty has been charged with the shooting death of his 24-year-old neighbor, a Maryland National Guardsman, according to police.

Michael Hetle, 52, of Springfield, Virginia, and current NASA employee was charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. 

Police found Javon Prather, 24, suffering from a gunshot wound just before 5 p.m. Wednesday. Officers tried to administer aid, but Prather was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement from police. Hetle was immediately arrested.

Both men resided on Bedstraw Court, reported the Washington Post.

Prather’s mother, Shavon Prather, told NBC Washington that her son and Hetle had fought for years.

‘He’s been giving my son and his wife problems for a very long time,’ Prather said. The two fought over dog poop, loud music and guests, Prather along with neighbors said.

A neighbor also said he heard at least seven shots on the day of the shooting. 

NASA worker worked as Washington cop involved in two police-involved shootings: 

Prather was a specialist with the 175th Infantry Regiment
of the Maryland National Guard. ‘He served as an infantryman for nearly four years & was awarded the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon & the National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Rest easy, brother,’ said a tweet from the Guard.

A statement from NASA described Hetle as ‘a career civil servant who works at NASA Headquarters in Washington in the agency’s Enterprise Protection Program.’

Hetle was described as an associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, according to the space agency.

Of note, Hetle previously served as a police officer in Bellevue, Washington, from 1994 to 2001. He was involved in two police-involved shootings, in 2000 and 2001.

He was cleared in both shootings, recalled by the Navy in 2001 to serve as an active duty officer, and officially resigned from the Bellevue Police Department in 2003 to pursue an opportunity outside of Washington, according to a department statement. 

In 2001, Hetle shot dead an unarmed Latino man during a domestic violence call, and in 2000 he shot and killed an armed bank robbery suspect, the Post reported.

Hetle was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in both cases, but the family of the unarmed Latino man filed a civil suit against him and the city. The family later settled the suit for $75,000.

NASA declined to comment on whether the agency was aware of Hetle’s tenure with the Bellevue police.

But there’s more.

Court records show Hetle recently faced charges for assault and drinking in public.

Police are investigating the shooting, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia is working to determine Prather’s manner of death.

Prather’s mother said her son, who was currently working as a manager at Giant Foods, was a ‘good man.’

‘No one deserved to die like that. I don’t care what kind of disagreement you’re having,’ the victim’s mother said. ‘No one should be shot in cold blood and die like that.’