The brother of the Florida 'burger shooting' victim and suspect said initial reports were incorrect and there's more to the story than a feud over a cheeseburger.
"As terrible as it is to lose two brothers at once, it's worst that the media and police are releasing inaccurate information," said Tim Middendorf, who lives in Cincinnati. "I hope that we can make this right and show the world that things were not as petty as the media down here made it seem."
Family friends in the area agreed and said there has to be more to the story.
"I know this wasn't over no damn cheeseburger," said Natasha Bell, a friend of the Middledorfs'.
Police said 28-year-old Nicholas Middendorf and his brother, 25-year-old Benjamin Middendorf, returned to their home in St. Cloud, Florida after a night of drinking on Cinco de Mayo. After the two began arguing, Benjamin went into another room, retrieved a 9 mm handgun and shot his brother once in the chest, authorities said.
Nicholas was pronounced dead at the scene.
"This is an impulsive incident that happened. Maybe anger, rage. But it was definitely over a verbal dispute that sadly, it was over a cheeseburger," St. Cloud Police Department spokeswoman Denise Roberts told News 13 in Orlando.
Nicholas and Benjamin Middendorf’s mother placed a 911 call, telling the dispatcher “my son just shot my son.” She’s also overheard telling Benjamin, “I hope you go to jail.”
Benjamin has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder, and is being held without bond in Osceola County Jail.
Bell, who lives in Hartwell, Ohio said she was in shock when she heard the news.
"I can't believe I'm not going to see his smile, hear his laugh," she said of Nicholas. "He got into a little mischief here and there, but he was a good kid."
Tim is currently in Florida helping his mother make funeral arrangements.
He said the relationship between his two brothers was one of "high tension" because "Nick was paying the bills and Ben was not working."
Benjamin has lived with his mother in Florida for the last six years, Tim said. Nicholas moved to Florida last year to join his mother and brother and find "a fresh start."
Tim said Nicholas was "kind of tough on Ben" but also said he was "kind hearted."
Recently, Nicholas took someone in who was "down on his luck," Tim said. Tension rose while Nick was patient with the new roommate who had no money but continued to "ride Ben" about finding a job.
"Police released information too quickly and were misinformed by a 'friend' that Nicholas was trying to help," Tim said of the case.