Sister's tribute to 'bright star' killed by stray bullet in Georgia

Chloe Keedy reports for ITV News.

The sister of a British scientist killed by a stray bullet said the family has lost a "bright star" and they will never recover from their "tragic loss".

Dr Matthew Willson from Chertsey in Surrey was shot in the head at an apartment complex in the United States.

The 31-year-old was visiting his girlfriend in Atlanta, Georgia, when a single bullet passed through the bedroom wall. Matthew’s sister Kate said the family is still in shock.

"The people responsible really need to know that guns aren’t toys, this isn’t for fun, guns are weapons and they’re dangerous and because of their actions we’ve lost a really bright star from our universe and we will never recover from this," Matthew’s sister Kate Easingwood Willson told ITV Good Morning Britain.

Witnesses said thirty to forty gunshots were fired from an apartment nearby in what police believe was a random shooting.

Matthew Willson's sister says her family will never recover.

Speaking to local TV network WSB-TV Matthew's girlfriend Katherine Shepard said: "I looked at him and said, Matt are you OK?

"I saw in the darkness he was starting to slump over, I got up and turned on the lights and saw he had been shot in the head," Katherine added.

Police confirmed they were treating his death as a homicide.

"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," said Sergeant Jake Kissel from the Brookhaven Police Department.

"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 added.

The officer said it was the attack of its kind in the area.

"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," said Sergeant Jake Kissel.

"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," he added.