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Stray bullet through wall killed British academic in US – Police

An English astrophysicist was killed by a stray bullet that travelled through a wall and hit him in his bed, according to US authorities.

Dr Matthew Willson, 31, from Chertsey, Surrey, was found with a single gunshot wound to the head when police were called to an apartment complex in Brookhaven, Atlanta, at around 2am last Sunday.

Sgt Jake Kissel, from the Brookhaven Police Department, said that while the shooting is believed to have been a random act, the death is being treated as a homicide. 

There have been no arrests so far.

Sgt Kissel said the stray bullet that hit Dr Willson travelled less than 100 yards and entered through an exterior wall of the apartment.

“The two apartment complexes where the gunfire took place and where Matthew was staying, they’re separated by a patch of woods, so they back up to each other,” the officer told the PA news agency.

“We’re saying it’s the reckless discharge of firearms from one apartment complex and the stray bullet travelled through the woods and entered his apartment.”

He said investigators are following up on all leads, adding: “We’re receiving tips from the public and our investigator team has been working around the clock to ensure that we’re tracking down the individuals that are responsible.”

Talking about the incident, the officer added: “It’s the first of its kind in my knowledge to the city of Brookhaven where an innocent bystander is struck and killed by a stray bullet.

“For me and my 15-year law enforcement career, this is the first time that I’ve ever dealt with this type of situation.

“It’s definitely something that’s alarming. It’s a tragic event. It’s very shocking to hear and try and piece together how it actually happened.

“It’s something that’s been… it’s a very tall task.”

Sgt Kissel said: “Our investigation team is treating it as a homicide, even though we believe that it was a random act and complete reckless discharging of firearms, we’re still approaching it as a homicide.

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