An off-duty Colorado Department of Corrections officer allegedly shot and killed his neighbor over a dispute involving Fourth of July fireworks at an Aurora housing complex, according to an arrest affidavit.
Scott Mathews Jr. was arrested July 5 on suspicion of second-degree murder, according to the Aurora police affidavit. The shooting victim, 36-year-old Jaharie Wheeler, died at the hospital later that night.
Witnesses told police that Mathews and his girlfriend, Katherine O’Neal, grew upset when they heard Wheeler’s two children lighting fireworks in the Greensview Apartment Complex courtyard in the 16400 block of East Alameda Place, according to the affidavit.
O’Neal, who is also a corrections officer, began arguing with Wheeler’s girlfriend, Shamira Cotton, about the fireworks, eventually drawing Mathews out to the courtyard. He interjected himself into the argument before headbutting Cotton, witnesses told police.
Wheeler came outside and confronted Mathews about hitting his girlfriend, Cotton told police. He then punched Mathews in the face, according to a witness video provided to police. Mathews stumbled backward before allegedly firing one shot at Wheeler, according to the affidavit.
When police responded, Mathews told an officer, “I shot him,” according to the affidavit. Mathews was taken to the hospital for injuries sustained during the altercation and was arrested the next day.
Mathews had been employed by the Department of Corrections since October 2015, working at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, the DOC said. He has been suspended without pay.
Charges are expected to be filed Wednesday in Arapahoe County Court.