British doctor shot dead by stray bullet to the head while lying in bed in Georgia

Dr Matthew Willson Credit: Brookhaven Police Department

A British astrophysicist has been shot dead by "reckless gunfire" while he was lying in his bed in Georgia in the United States.

Dr Matthew Willson, 31, from Chertsey in Surrey, was with his girlfriend in an apartment block in Georgia, when a bullet hit him in the head at around at 2am local time on Sunday, local police told WSB-TV.

Police had been called to reports of gunfire in the Clairmont Road area of Brookhaven when they received another call that a person had been shot in a nearby apartment complex.

Officers believe the shots originated from the grounds of a different building and travelled through an area of woodland before reaching the apartment where Willson was staying.

Willson was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

Sgt Jake Kissel, from Brookhaven Police, said: "This was a senseless act - this was an innocent victim. He was here visiting from England. He was visiting a loved one. He had just flown into 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."

A cash reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

The Foreign Office confirmed that it was supporting the family of a British man following his death in the US.

"We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in the USA, and are in contact with US authorities," a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said.