$25K reward offered to find shooter who killed British scientist

Matthew Willson was killed in January while visiting his girlfriend, Katherine Shepard, in Brookhaven. (Family photo)

Matthew Willson was killed in January while visiting his girlfriend, Katherine Shepard, in Brookhaven. (Family photo)

It has been nearly a year and a half since British scientist Matthew Willson was shot to death while asleep inside his girlfriend’s Brookhaven apartment. No one has been arrested for firing the bullet that killed the 31-year-old.

Now, Wilson’s family and friends are hoping an increased reward of $25,000 will help find the person responsible, police said this week.

In January 2022, Willson flew to Atlanta to visit his longtime girlfriend, Katherine Shepard, and had planned to stay for three months.

“He was so happy to be here and be able to spend time with Katherine,” Willson’s sister, Kate, previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Within days of his arrival, Willson was struck by a bullet in Shepard’s apartment. Investigators believe a bullet fired from a neighboring apartment complex blasted into Shepard’s bedroom.

Around 2 a.m. Jan. 16, 2022, multiple people called 911 to report hearing shots in a complex in the 3600 block of Buford Highway, Sgt. Jake Kissel with Brookhaven police said after the shooting. While officers checked the area, another 911 caller reported a man had been shot inside an apartment in the 3100 block of Clairmont Road.

Willson, an astrophysicist who had met Shepard while completing post-doctoral work at Georgia State University, had been shot. He lived in Chertsey, Surrey, England, and was completing additional post-doctoral work, Shepard said.

Shepard told the AJC after Willson’s death that he had gone to bed because he was jet-lagged from his flight. He woke up to the sound of gunshots.

Additional shots were fired and Shepard realized Willson had been shot in the head. He died after being taken to the hospital.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Brookhaven police at 404-637-0636 or tips can be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 404-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.crimestoppersatlanta.org or texting CSA and the tip to CRIMES (274637).

Information leading to an arrest and indictment of the suspect could lead to the $25,000 reward, police said.