Home Inspector Killed, Agent Shot During Home-Sale Dispute
Prosecutors have filed charges against a Huntington Beach man they say shot and killed a home inspector and wounded two other people, including a real estate agent and a sibling that the man was in a dispute with over the home of their deceased father.
Alderson, with wife Sherry Biggers, a real estate agent with Realty Pro 100.
Roger Nemeth was charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in a criminal complaint filed Monday, Aug. 9. He is accused of killing Michael Alderson and shooting at three other people on Aug. 7. The others were identified in court documents as Tammi T., Kimber W. and Vicki C.
Alderson, owner of Inspectall Home Inspections, was married to a real estate agent, Sherry Biggers, with Realty Pro 100 in Orange.
“We have love like no other I’ve never known until his love, which is true love, honesty, respect, and communication,” she wrote previously on her Facebook page. “He is my ultimate soul mate. Love you Michael James Alderson.”
Police responded to a shooting in progress call and “found three individuals in front of the residence suffering from gunshot wounds,” Huntington Beach Police Capt. Tim Martin said.
“Officers worked to safely evacuate the injured victims to a waiting ambulance, as the suspect was still believed to be barricaded inside the residence. While officers were evacuating the victims, a male, who was believed to be the shooter, came out of the residence with a superficial gunshot wound.”
The gunman, eventually identified by prosecutors as Nemeth, surrendered to Huntington Beach police. The realdeal.com (a real estate news source) reported that the two other victims, one of whom remained hospitalized as of last week, are also real estate professionals, but further details, including the victims’ job titles and the parties’ exact relationship, remain unclear.
Alderson died at a hospital. Nemeth and two wounded women were expected to recover.
Risks for Real Estate Professionals
Instances of violence and crime, though rare, have occurred in all aspects of the transaction process, including during open houses and showings. In 2018, the body of 33-year-old Real Estate Agent Steven Bernard Wilson was found inside a model home he was selling in Hanover, MD.
Another high-profile case is Central Arkansas REALTOR® Beverly Carter, whose body was found on Sep. 20, 2014, following a kidnapping at a home showing.
Earlier this month, a REALTOR® named Eric Brown was put in potential danger when neighbors reported a break-in as the Michigan REALTOR®, who is Black, was conducting a routine home showing. Brown and his clients were ordered out of the home at gunpoint and handcuffed, before the matter was resolved and they were released.
Fight Over Family Home
The Huntington Beach defendant was living at the home in the years leading up to the death of his father, Victor Nemeth, according to neighbor Robert Lindgren, 53. He added that Roger Nemeth believed that the house had been promised to him.
“It’s important for people to know that Roger had been taking care of Vic [the father] for years,” Lindgren said.
Victor Nemeth died in August 2018 without leaving a will. The sister was named as the administrator of their dad’s estate, according to court documents.
Roger Nemeth had been planning to challenge his sister’s bid to manage their father’s affairs, but missed deadlines to file a competing bid, said Linda Varga, an attorney involved in the early stages of the property dispute between the two siblings.
The home was approved to be sold privately with the help of the real estate agent, who was among the shooting victims.
Uprooted For Sale Signs
Roger Nemeth objected to the sale of the home and continued to live there after a buyer was found, according to people who reside nearby. Neighbors reported that a for sale sign in front of the home would frequently be torn out of the ground and knocked over.
Nearby residents described Nemeth as shy and guarded. Both Lindgren and Varga said he “seemed a bit off.” But neither said they had ever gotten the impression that he could be violent.
“If we thought he could have posed any sort of danger to us, we wouldn’t have taken the case,” Varga said.
Nearby residents were evacuated Saturday as SWAT officers surrounded the house on Operetta, and helicopters circled overhead. Some stood behind yellow police tape and anxiously watched as police conducted an hours-long investigation before people were allowed to return to their homes.
Huntington Beach Police Chief Julian Harvey expressed appreciation for the community’s cooperation.
$2 Million Bail
One neighbor, who lives in the house behind the one inhabited by Nemeth, said he was worried the defendant might somehow be released to return to the property. Harvey said that the suspected gunman is in custody and would have to post $2 million bail in order to be set free while awaiting trial.
Another resident asked if there was anything authorities or members of the community could have done to prevent the tragedy.
Police had been summoned to Nemeth’s home before, but “it’s not as though there was something compelling that would make us take action” at the time, Harvey said. He was hesitant to speculate, but said he believed it would have been difficult for anyone to predict such a tragedy would have happened.
Many real estate professionals are among those contributing to a Gofundme account set up for Alderson’s wife, Sherry, in response to the tragedy.
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