Police: Man gunned down woman that was looking for a dog on his property

PARRISH, Fla. (WFLA) — An 83-year-old man is charged with second degree murder after deputies tell us he gunned down a woman who was on his property looking for a dog.
Deputies said Eugene Matthews committed murder in a tragic and horrifying way.

He had been watching a dog that belonged to a friend who recently passed away.

Front of Manatee County home where Rawson was shot and killed (WFLA Photo)
Front of Manatee County home where Rawson was shot and killed (WFLA Photo)

On Tuesday evening, 65-year-old Rebecca Rawson arrived at his house to pick up the dog along with her daughter Kathryn and her brother-in-law Rodney Rawson.

An official affidavit from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said the dog belonged to Rawson.

As the dog walked toward the car, Matthews brought out a gun and fired.

“[Matthews] fired a couple of shots just up in the air and then fired one toward the vehicle, went in the windshield and struck the person inside the vehicle,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow.

Rawson was killed.

Why he did what he did? We have no idea,” said Bristow.

Matthew’s home is not very welcoming. On his lawn sits a mannequin holding a gun and there are signs discouraging trespassers.

Rebecca Rawson and daughter
Rebecca Rawson and daughter

“It’s a little creepy,” said neighbor Louis Barnes.

Barnes said Matthews is often seen carrying a gun.

“He always seemed friendly and nice, but a couple times I have talked to him, he’s told me some disturbing things, so I’m not really surprised something like this might have happened,” said Barnes.

Matthews has a criminal history that dates back at least 30 years. Officials say he once ran from sheriff decades ago.

“He’s just a very familiar name around Manatee County for a lot of reasons,” said Bristow.

Rebecca Rawson had just celebrated her birthday on Saturday.  Kathryn Rawson, who witnessed the shooting, recently lost her father as well.

Matthews has been charged with second degree murder, and more charges could be coming.

He’s being held on no bond at the Manatee County Jail.

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