Woman who alerted police to Independence home invasion shocked to learn son is suspected in crime

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An Independence woman watched helplessly on a security camera as her boyfriend was robbed. Seconds later, that camera showed an Independence police officer being shot. Now, she’s finding out her own son is charged in the crime.

“I just... just can't believe it.”

She didn’t want to show her face. She feels broken and lost, after what she experienced Wednesday morning. It all started when she turned on her TV to watch a live feed of her boyfriend’s security camera.

“I had turned on the Xfinity to make sure he was okay. Because I worry about him. I walked away for a few minutes...when I walked back- I could see one of the perpetrators.”

She says two men with stocking caps and bandannas covering their faces, were beating her boyfriend, 81-year-old Don Fowler.

“I'm thinking oh my god...what do I do?”

She dialed 911 in a panic, telling the dispatcher to get police to his house.

“I was panicked... I didn't know what to do. I was doing all I could do, but I wanted to help so bad. I was afraid they wouldn't get there in time.”

She says the two men knocked over the indoor security camera, so she started watching the outside cameras.

“There's another camera that shows the driveway. I did see when the police got there, I was relieved then except that they arrived with guns drawn.”

She says police began firing at Fowler’s closed garage door.

“I saw somebody else on the ground too.”

After shots were fired, she says one of the Independence police officers fell to the ground and was pulled out of view. It was Officer Tom Wagstaff, a bullet hit him in the head. Seconds later, the suspects busted out of the garage and took off. She sat in her living room, paralyzed, at what she had witnessed.

“It was heart wrenching. I wanted to help so bad.”

She didn’t think it could get any worse, until Wednesday morning, when she found out her own son, Donald Nussbaum, was charged in the crime. Police say Nussbaum drove the suspects to the home, with the plan of robbing someone. His mother’s boyfriend.

“I had no idea my son... I didn't think he would do anything like this.”

She says she has been estranged from Nussbaum for years, but that he would sometimes do yard work for her boyfriend Don. She’s sickened that her own son would do this and hasn’t stopped thinking about Officer Tom Wagstaff.

“I pray for him. I feel for him. I wish him nothing but luck and I am so so sorry.”

She says her boyfriend had four staples put in his head, but is recovering. Her son Donald Nussbaum’s bond has been set at $500,000.



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