A stray bullet kills an English astrophysicist visiting Atlanta

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (AP) — A stray bullet struck and killed an English astrophysicist while he was in an Atlanta-area apartment, authorities say.

Matthew Willson, 31, from Chertsey, Surrey, England, was visiting his girlfriend in the US when he was hit by a bullet which pierced the flat wall. The shooting happened early Sunday morning, just 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 at the airport, took him to his favorite restaurant and the next day he left.”

Shepard, whose apartment is in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven, who told the TV station the couple woke up on Jan. 16 to the sound of more than 30 gunshots coming from a compound. apartments located just behind Shepard’s. A bullet went through Shepard’s 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 shots fired.”

Police were in the area pursuing reports of gunshots when Shepard’s 911 call came in. Sergeant. Jake Kissel of Brookhaven’s Criminal Investigations Division said once officers arrived at the scene, they assisted 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. fire.

Willson was 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 a highly valued member of our astrophysics team,” a university spokesperson said in a statement.

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

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