Dateline | August 02, 2013
>> word went out a brazen intruder had shot fire chief keith bryan in his own home and within minutes, first responders swarmed the house, securing it as a crime scene. as keith was rushed to the hospital, his wife becky stayed behind. detectives were on their way and she spoke to her brother david on the phone.
>> she was crying and frantic. i said settle down, it will be okay, who is with you. her son was there.
>> gina, a friend, rushed over to the bryan .
>> i went over, hugged her, said how sorry i was, that god would get us through this. she said i'm sorry, i know he was your friend, too.
>> the deputy chief reached becky on her cell.
>> told her not to worry. they'll do a full investigation and they'll find, figure out who did it.
>> at the house, becky was on the rear patio, on the phone with friends and family repeating the story of the armed intruder.
>> we were sitting in open lot around the patio and i was fearful that they might come back.
>> you thought at that moment that this person she described could come back?
>> yes, i did.
>> we hadn't had anything like that happen before.
>> tammy mcneil, a detective with the mustang police department , was dispatched to the bryan house that night. and mustang being mustang, the victim and his wife were no strangers to the detective.
>> what's your reaction when you hear it was keith ?
>> it was concerning to me because i knew this family.
>> becky seemed relieved to see a familiar face.
>> she called out my name and asked me to come sit by her on the back porch. and then she started telling me about a young man, approximately 25 years old, coming into their home and shooting keith in the head.
>> and what did that young man say, according to becky ?
>> she said after he shot keith he turned to her and said, you know, i'm sorry, ma'am, that he should have [bleep] hired me.
>> it seemed like a key detail, this apparent apology and explanation. becky had also recounted it to 911 dispatchers.
>> he said ma'am, i'm so sorry, he said but your husband should have hired me.
>> do you have a gut reaction about that story?
>> it was concerning to me because we are a small community. my first concern was, you know, is there somebody out there, where is he and how are we going to find him.
>> becky described the shooter as a man in his 20s with a big nose, and wearing a hoodie.
>> i was trying to get as much information to other law enforcement agencies as well as our officers to start looking for him.
>> was it possible keith knew the man? keith was in no condition to help investigators, but at the hospital, hopeful news. he was clinging to life.
>> i told her, i said he is going to surgery. she said really?
>> keith made it through surgery, still in terrible shape, but alive in the icu. when becky arrived, the halls of the hospital were filled with friends, loved ones, and keith 's firefighter brothers. it seemed half the town of mustang was there praying for keith .
>> how hard was it for you to see keith in that condition?
>> it was very, very hard. i would tell myself, you never know, heard so many stories of people having head injuries , and i know prayer is so powerful, and i know he had so many people praying. first thing that happens when you see becky in the hospital?
>> we come up and hug each other. and she's crying. i mean, she started crying immediately when i grabbed her. she says what am i going to do? what are we going to do?
>> by morning, it was clear, keith would not pull through. those closest to him sensed it was time to say their goodbyes.
>> what did you say to him?
>> just -- i said you didn't deserve this, and i love you, good-bye. that was it.
>> at keith 's bedside, becky , keith 's wife of 33 years wept, and as keith slipped away, along with the sorrow was the lost hope he could shed any light on who had done this to him. no one believed keith bryan had an enemy in the world. so as the search for the apologetic intruder got under way, one clue was as simple as the victim's name.