Off-Duty Corrections Officer Fatally Shoots Black Neighbor Over Fireworks That 'Scared His Small Dog'

Off-Duty Corrections Officer Fatally Shoots Black Neighbor Over Fireworks That 'Scared His Small Dog'

Officers Scott Mathews Jr. and his girlfriend Katherine O'Neal were upset with a 14-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl for lighting fireworks, which allegedly disturbed their small dog. 

An off-duty corrections officer has been arrested for fatally shooting his black neighbor over a dispute about fireworks on Independence Day in Aurora, Colorado. Reports state that Scott Mathews Jr. and his girlfriend Katherine O'Neal were upset with a 14-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl for lighting fireworks, which allegedly startled their small dog. 



 

The arrest affidavit states that the mother of the children was with them when Mathews and O'Neal began arguing with the group. At the time of the confrontation, both of them were armed with guns.



 

O'Neal, who is also a corrections officer, admitted that during the course of the argument, she drew her gun, but did not point it at anyone. However, Mathews allegedly headbutted the children's mother Shamira Cotton during the dispute. He then pointed the gun at her while screaming profanities. Cotton admitted that she tossed a drink at Mathews during the confrontation. 



 

36-year-old Jaharie Wheeler, Cotton's boyfriend, then came out of his apartment to find his girlfriend bleeding. The affidavit states that this prompted an argument to ensue between Wheeler and Mathews when the former threw a punch at the off-duty corrections officer. A witness to the incident provided the authorities with a video which showed Wheeler throwing a punch at Mathews who at first stumbles backward before drawing his gun and firing a single, fatal shot at Wheeler. 



 

The authorities were alerted about shots being fired at 10:29 p.m. at the Greensview Apartment Complex, 16400 E. Alameda Place. When the police arrived, they found Wheeler with a gunshot wound. He was immediately transported to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. 



 

Police arrested Mathews, who is said to be a corrections officer at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, after extensively interviewing the suspect as well as witnesses to the shooting. The affidavit of the arrest states that when officers confronted Mathews about the incident, he said: "I shot him".



 

Mathews is currently being held at the Aurora Detention Center on a bond of $100,000. There is currently no update on his hearing or the charges he currently faces. Mathews has since been suspended without pay from his job as a corrections officer. 



 

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