Home News Local news Police Say Investigation of Fire and Homicide Will Take Time

Police Say Investigation of Fire and Homicide Will Take Time


Oct. 31, 2005 –– Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Hannah Monday clarified his Sunday remarks that indicated an altercation had happened between David Geiger and his son, Nathan, in the hours before David Geiger died in what police are calling a homicide. Nathan Geiger was critically injured and their house set on fire in an apparent arson.
"We don't know who was involved in the altercation," Hannah said, noting that only two people were in the house when neighbors heard the fire.
He said that police don't know at this time if a third person was involved. He said police must wait to interview Nathan Geiger when his condition improves to find out the details of what happened.
Nathan Geiger is currently undergoing treatment in a Puerto Rico hospital. Hannah did not have an update on his condition.
Hannah apologized for providing misleading information on Sunday.
He said a date has not been set for an autopsy on David Geiger because the pathologist must come over from Puerto Rico.
Hannah said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not involved in the case because homicides are a local matter unless the police commissioner asks for help.
Hannah said that St. John residents up in arms about the case are not giving the police time to investigate.
"What has caused people to believe that it can be solved instantaneously is crime shows on TV," he said.
He said that the police do not comment on ongoing investigations. He said they do not release the names of people interviewed because it could jeopardize the investigation.
Meanwhile, some residents took issue with Hannah's Sunday statement, later clarified, about the disagreement between David Geiger and his son.
"This is a wonderful family," St. John resident Marie Whalen said, speaking about events like the 8 Tuff Miles race and football games where the Geigers were active.
Two of the people who lived on the bottom floor of David Geiger's three-story building in Grunwald called the Source to tell their stories.
Rachel Geer and her brother Nate Emerick both said they heard the fire. Geer said she heard glass doors leading to the deck explode as she ran up the steps to the third-floor unit where the Geigers lived.
"Me and Tommy pulled Nathan out," Emerick said.
He said Nathan Geiger was lying on the floor covered with blood with blood on the wall and the floor.
Emerick said that the second-floor neighbor, Tommy Ferrell, broke down the front door to get Nathan Geiger out.
Hannah has said the door was locked from the inside.
Emerick said he tried to put out the fire in David Geiger's bedroom using a hose pushed through a kitchen window that he said already had the screen torn and pushed out.
"His arm was reaching straight in the air," he said of David Geiger.
Hannah has said that David Geiger's body was burned beyond recognition.
Emerick said that earlier that morning he and the other neighbors heard David Geiger yelling to someone to get out of his house and the sound of what they thought was something dropping.
Ferrell, who lives on the floor below the Geigers, said that he heard noises for much of the night.
"I heard an aah sound like someone was pissed off or in agony," Ferrell said.
He said there was also a lot of crashing noises. He said his girlfriend told him to call the police, but he didn't want to intrude because Geiger was the landlord.
Students at St. John School on Gifft Hill gathered Monday to talk about the Saturday event that left their classmate, Nathan Geiger, critically injured.
"Just being about to talk about it has been helpful. It's been a traumatic event," St. John School co-administrator Scott Crawford said.
He said that he met first with the 80 students in the seventh through 12th grades plus the four or five sixth graders that wanted to participate to talk about what had happened.
Crawford said a counselor, Lisa Imhoff, then talked to the students on a class-by-class basis before meeting with those that wanted individual counseling.
He said the students are focusing positive thoughts on Nathan Geiger.
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