Friday afternoon, Dave Midas was having fun playing with his young son Gunnar at his Weatherly home. Gunnar was one of two sons Midas had. The other son, Hodge, is reportedly just a baby.
According to reports, Midas, 33, then told his wife he was going to work.
The sheriff's chief deputy and part-time police officer also worked for a funeral home. Carbon County Sheriff Dwight Nothstein said it was assumed Midas had funeral business to take care of.
Instead, something terrible happened.
Nothstein said Midas went to the Lansford home of fellow patrolman Chris Ondrus and took Ondrus hostage. Then they went to the Lansford Police Station where he got more ammunition.
Reports say Midas stole a patrol car and drove to Jim Thorpe, and stopped on Broadway where he decided to kill himself.
The sheriff said Ondrus tried to stop Midas, but couldn't.
Nothstein said he spoke with Ondrus, who was very upset "because he couldn't stop Dave; he couldn't get the gun away."
Midas shot himself at about 7:40 p.m.
He initially was transported to the Lehighton Campus of Blue Mountain Health System, then transferred to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest.
Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim pronounced him dead at 2:53 a.m.
An autopsy was performed Saturday morning. Grim ruled the death a suicide.
Grim said the Lehigh County Coroner's Office and the Lehighton barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police are conducting the investigation.
'Couldn't believe it'
Nothstein said he doesn't know what went wrong. He said he couldn't believe it when he heard the news.
"He was quiet," Nothstein said of Midas. "He didn't seem to be that type of person. Everybody was shocked that he did it."
"Whatever happened, he snapped in Lansford," the sheriff continued.
Of numerous people interviewed, many who didn't want to speak on record, nobody could believe that Midas, a gentle, caring, helpful individual, would go to such an extreme.
"If he could possibly do something for you, he would do it," Nothstein said, adding, "My staff is completely confused, too. They don't know why he would go to this extreme."
Lansford Fire Chief Joe Cannon said at one time Midas was active in the American Hose Company of Lansford. Midas had served as past president.
"I always enjoyed Dave," Cannon remarked. "I thought he was a great guy."
We'll always remember
Cannon referenced a photo taken of Midas at a fire scene on Oct. 29, 2007, on Walnut Street in Lansford. Midas responded as a police officer. He rescued a cat named Tiger from a burning home and was photographed giving the cat mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
"To me, that's Dave," Cannon said.
Tiger's owner, Amanda Lehman, says she'll never forget Midas' kind act.
"Dave was among the many heroic volunteers who helped us. Our two dogs and two cats were overcome with smoke from the fire. Dave performed CPR on our cat, Tiger. I will always be thankful for the efforts made that day to save our family pets," she said.
Billy O'Gurek Jr., chairman of the Carbon County Democratic Committee, said he last saw Midas a week ago at the group's fall dinner. Midas was in a great mood. He talked about how, after the new year, he was going to actively begin his campaign for Carbon County Sheriff, with the election to occur in 2015. Nothstein indicated he is retiring and Midas was interested in taking his place.
"He wanted to get his name out there and get recognized," O'Gurek said.
Nothstein stated, "He was great. I was supporting him for sheriff."
Always there to help
O'Gurek echoed the remarks of virtually everyone who was interviewed that knew Midas. "He was always there to help," he said.
He said Midas helped the Democratic Committee at fundraisers, picnics, and other events.
"Between that and the police work in a couple of different towns, he was always someone that would do something to help someone out," he added.
Thomas Zimmerman IV, president of the Mahoning Valley Lions Club, recalled that Midas loved polka music and was a good polka dancer.
Others said he often appeared on WVIA TV 44's weekly polka show.
"Dave loved animals and always supported our Polkas for Pets as well as any other pet day we held," Zimmerman said.
He continued, "I would also say what a pleasure it was to run into him and how cheerful he always was."
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, from Our Lady of Lourdes R.C.C., 318 Plane St., Weatherly.
Friends may call in church from 9 a.m. until time of services.
Interment will be at Sky-View Memorial Park in Tamaqua.
Memorials in his name may be sent to Julie Midas, for an education fund for his children, 434 East Main St., Weatherly, PA 18255.
The complete obituary appears on page 4 today.Chris Parker contributed to this report.