UA Student Wanted in Accidental Shooting Turns Himself In

Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson, the University of Arkansas student who accidentally shot himself at a campus radio station, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday (Feb. 27.), campus police said.

He was booked into the Washington County Detention Center Wednesday at 11:19 a.m. and was released at noon on a $2,500 bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office website. His booking photo is shown with this story.

A felony warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday accusing him of possessing a gun on school property, a Class D felony.

University of Arkansas police contacted Williamson Tuesday and said they would give him time to turn himself in before trying to find him and serve a warrant, said Lt. Matt Mills of the campus police department.

The Washington County Prosecutor’s Office recommended Williamson’s bond be set a $2,500, according to the warrant.

Williamson, 37, was showing the Taurus .45-caliber revolver to a co-worker at the KUAF radio station. The station is in Fayetteville next to the city library but is considered a campus facility.

The gun fired and blew a .410 shotgun round through his left hand, damaging his left index finger and doing severe damage to the meaty part of his hand between his thumb and pointer and index fingers.

Williamson said he didn’t touch the gun and did nothing to jar the handgun into firing. He said he has since done research that he said showed the revolver was prone to accidental firings.

“It’s embarrassing,” Williamson said. “People think I did something wrong. That’s what I’d think. It was just a fluke accident. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Williamson said he didn’t realize the radio station – where he answered phones as part of a work-study program – was a part of the university’s campus or he would not have brought the gun.

He said he brought the gun because he had planned to take the revolver to a gun range after work to shoot it for the first time. He said he was a hurry that morning and didn’t check the gun thoroughly for a round before tossing it into his bag.

“I still only shot it that once,” Williamson said, managing a chuckle.

Williamson said he owns several guns but will sell them now, and was able to joke that he would need the money to pay for his medical bills. He said his accident shows that guns shouldn’t be allowed on campus.

“I’m pretty despondent about the whole thing,” Williamson said. “It was an accident, and I’m sorry. If I had know the radio station was campus, that wouldn’t have happened.”

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