Manatee County woman shot, killed while searching for dog

Posted at 5:02 AM, Jan 11, 2017

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has arrested and charged Eugene Matthews, 83, with second degree murder after he reportedly opened fire on a family searching for their dog and killed a woman. 

The victim, Rebecca Rawson, along with Kathryn Rawson (her daughter) and Rodney Rawson (her brother in law), went to Matthews' home on Pritchart Street to retrieve a yellow lab, Bart.

Bart previously belonged to Rodney Rawson's brother, who died last week. 

According to Rodney Raswon, he gave the dog to Matthews after he asked for it, but Kathryn, his niece, told him she wanted her dad's dog.

Deputies say when Rawson went to the door and knocked, Juanita Sills answered the door. Rawson called the dog's name and the dog came to the door. Rawson picked up the dog and took him back to the car. 

Eugene Matthews came out of the house and fired a handgun into the air twice. Then he pointed the gun at the vehicle and a single round went through the windshield and hit Rebecca Rawson, 65, in the face. Rodney grabbed the gun from Williams and a struggle ensued and one round was fired before Rawson could get the gun from the suspect. 

Rawson was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. 

"It's a very sad situation," said Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee Sheriff's Office, "you have a daughter who has lost her dad and her mom in a week and she was right there." 

Matthews appeared at Manatee Co. Court today from the jail where a judge denied any bond. 

He's now charged with 2nd degree murder. 

"It could have been handled obviously so much differently," said Bristow, " and didn't have to end up like this." 

Records show Matthews has a criminal past and has been arrested a handful of times in Manatee Co., for charges including trespassing and resisting an officer with violence. 



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