LOVELAND, Colo. -- Saturday morning, friends and family gathered at Foundations Church in Loveland to say goodbye to a big man, known for his big heart.
Officials are now calling 43-year-old Jason Wheeler's death a homicide. The Larimer County Coroner says the cause of death was asphyxiation.
On Feb. 8, police were called to reports of a disturbance off Highway 287. While police were on their way to the area, witnesses say Wheeler stopped breathing.
"There's a lot of stuff that happens to us that's senseless, and tragic, and shouldn't be," said Lead Pastor Carl Sutter. "Jason didn't care so much about what was on the outside of a person, he looked at the heart. And Jason was a man with a big heart."
At the site of the incident, a large metal cross bearing Wheeler's name stands prominently. It was built by close friend Mike Morgan, who spoke of Wheeler Saturday morning.
"He didn't know a stranger, he was just friendly to everybody, and I don't think you wanted to not be friendly with him," he joked. "If you knew Jason long enough, if that man didn't have bad luck, he didn't have luck."
Wheeler was reportedly fighting kidney disease, and had recently found out his wife Mary was a match for a donation.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help his wife and 2 sons.
It remains unclear what led to the confrontation. Loveland Police say potential charges will be handed over to the district attorney once the investigation is completed.AlertMe