While sleeping with his lover in bed, a British doctor visiting the United States was slain in his sleep by a stray bullet fired’recklessly’ from a nearby apartment complex.
Matthew Willson, 31, of Surrey, was staying in an affluent Atlanta neighborhood after flying to America last week to see his physicist partner Kate Shepard, who was born in California.
The postdoctoral scientific researcher from leafy Chertsey had only been in the United States for two days when he died in a bizarre occurrence that is currently being investigated as homicide.
Police were called at 2 a.m. on Sunday to allegations of a’reckless discharge of a pistol’ in an apartment building on Buford Highway, according to police. While they were on their way to the location, they received a 911 call from another block of flats, where Dr. Willson was residing, stating that he had been shot in the head. The British national was rushed to a local trauma center but was unable to be saved.
‘This was a senseless crime – this was an innocent victim,’ Sergeant Jacob Kissel told WSB-TV. She and her boyfriend were in bed together. He came all the way from England to pay us a visit. He was paying a visit to someone he cared about. He’d just arrived in the Atlanta area.
‘We lean on the public to understand that this is a tragic event, and we hope that they may come forward with any information they may have.’
Today his heartbroken sister Kate Easingwood, who is a molecular biology PhD student based in Sweden, posted a tribute to him on Instagram today, saying: ‘The world is so unfair.’ His heartbroken mother Pauline Willson declined to comment and said: ‘We just need some peace.’
Detectives in the United States believe the gun was discharged ‘carelessly’ from a nearby apartment building and that Dr. Willson was not the intended target. Detectives are investigating the incident as a homicide, but no arrests have been made, and a cash reward is now being offered.
‘This incident appears to be a random act involving individuals engaged in the irresponsible firing of firearm(s) that resulted in the unfortunate death of Dr. Willson,’ a police official said. When the tragedy occurred, Dr. Willson was visiting loved ones in town from England.’
Dr. Willson had previously worked for two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Georgia State University, as well as at the University of Liege in Belgium.
After hearing gunshots at the 3600 apartment complex on Buford Highway in Brookhaven, several residents called 911 around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Another person contacted 911 after authorities arrived on the scene to report that a man had been shot inside an apartment in the neighboring 3100 block of Clairmont Road.
According to Sergeant Jake Kissel of the Brookhaven Police Department, officers moved to the 3100 block and discovered Dr. Willson with a gunshot wound to the head.
Dr. Willson was rushed to the hospital but later died. Although no one has been detained, police have stated that the death is being investigated as a homicide.
The fatal shot was believed to have been fired from a nearby complex, and detectives classified it as a’reckless discharge of firearm(s)’.
They also don’t believe Dr. Willson was the shooter’s intended target and are operating under the assumption that the fatal shot was a “random act.”
‘This incident appears to be a random act involving individuals engaged in the irresponsible discharge of firearm(s) which resulted in the terrible death of Dr Willson,’ according to a Brookhaven Police Department spokeswoman.
”Dr. Willson was in town from England visiting loved ones when the incident occurred.’
‘We are supporting family of British man following his death in the USA, and are in contact with US authorities,’ a UK Foreign Office spokeswoman said today.