Stray bullet kills English astrophysicist visiting United States

Published January 23, 2022
Matthew Willson with his girlfriend Katherine Shepard.—AP
Matthew Willson with his girlfriend Katherine Shepard.—AP

BROOKHAVEN: A stray bullet struck and killed an English astrophysicist while he was inside an Atlanta-area apartment, authorities say.

Matthew Willson, 31, of Chertsey, Surrey, England, was visiting his girlfriend in the United States when he was hit by a bullet that pierced the wall of the apartment. The shooting happened early Sunday morning, only three days into his visit.

He was supposed to be here for three months because we’ve been long distance for a while, Katherine Shepard, his girlfriend of three years, told WSB-TV.

I picked him up from the airport, took him to his favourite eating location, and the next day, he’s gone.

Shepard, whose apartment is in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven, who told the television station that the couple woke up on Jan 16 to the sound of more than 30 gunshots coming from an apartment complex directly behind Shepards.

A bullet traveled through Shepards wall, hitting Willson, she said.

I held him for another 20 minutes while we waited for the ambulance, she said. And while we were waiting, there were more gunshots fired.

Police were in the vicinity pursuing reports of gunfire when the 911 call from Shepard came in. Sgt. Jake Kissel of the Brookhaven criminal investigations division said that once officers arrived at the scene, they rendered aid until paramedics arrived.

Dr Willson was transported to a local trauma center where he succumbed to his injuries, Kissel said in a statement. The shooting appeared to be a random act involving individuals participating in the reckless discharge of firearms.

Willson was being mourned by family, friends and his alma mater, the University of Exeter.

Matthew Willson was a former PhD student at the University of Exeter and much-loved member of our astrophysics team,” a university spokesman said in a statement.

No arrests have been announced. Brookhaven police have asked for witnesses or anyone with information about the shooting to contact them or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477).

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2022



Back to bedlam
Updated 25 May, 2022

Back to bedlam

FEAR tactics have never worked in the past, and most likely will not this time either. The government’s ...
25 May, 2022

Balochistan blaze

THE forest fire on the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in Balochistan’s Shirani area is among a series of blazes to have...
25 May, 2022

Unequal citizens

INDIFFERENCE would have been bad enough, but the state’s attitude towards non-Muslims falls squarely in the...
Updated 24 May, 2022

Marching in May

MORE unrest. That is the forecast for the weeks ahead as the PTI formally proceeds with its planned march on...
24 May, 2022

Policy rate hike

THE State Bank has raised its policy rate by 150bps to 13.75pc, hoping that its latest monetary-tightening action...
24 May, 2022

Questionable campaign

OVER the past couple of days, a number of cases have been registered in different parts of the country against...