Stray bullet kills English astrophysicist visiting Atlanta

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (AP) — A stray bullet killed an English astrophysicist while he was inside an Atlanta-area apartment, authorities said.

Matthew Willson, 31, from Chertsey in England, was visiting his girlfriend in the United States when he was struck by the bullet, which went through the wall of the apartment. The shooting occurred early Sunday morning, just three days after he began his visit.

“He was supposed to be here for three months because we had been long distance for a long time,” said Katherine Shepard, his girlfriend of three years. “I picked him up at the airport, took him to his favorite place to eat and the next day he was dead,” he added, in remarks broadcast by television station WSB-TV.

Shepard — whose apartment is in Brookhaven, an Atlanta suburb — told the television station that the couple were awakened on Jan. 16 by the sound of more than 30 gunshots coming from an apartment complex directly behind Shepard’s.

“I held him for another 20 minutes while we waited for the ambulance,” he added. “And while we were waiting, there were more shots.”

Sgt. Jake Kissel of the Brookhaven Criminal Investigations Division said in a statement that “Dr. Willson was transported to a local trauma center, where he succumbed to his injuries.”

The shooting appeared to have been a “random act involving individuals engaging in reckless shooting” of firearms, it added.

No arrests have been made.

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