Officials have identified a Fort Riley soldier who had returned from a deployment to Afghanistan less than a month earlier as the man killed early Sunday morning in a shooting at the University Garden apartments in which three others were wounded. A tenant whose apartment was close to the deceased’s is under arrest.
The dead man was identified as Michael Lowery, 22. His body was found at the scene when police arrived at 900 Garden Way on Sunday. Lowery was a part of the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion Alpha Company from Fort Riley.
Family members said Lowery had returned from Afghanistan in March, taken three weeks of leave at his home in Washington, and returned to his Manhattan apartment just three days before the shooting.
Officers were first called to the complex for reports of multiple gunshots at approximately 4:10 a.m., and found that four people had been shot. They identified the suspect Monday night as Matthew Wilson, 43, 900 Garden Way, Apt. 10. He was charged with murder in the first degree, three counts of attempted murder in the first degree and aggravated burglary.
The wounded were identified as Christine Kim, 23, Junction City, Alexya Mailea, 23, Manhattan, and Dustin Ferguson, 22, 900 Garden Way, Apt. 9, Lowery’s roommate. Kim and Mailea, who are former and current K-State students, were life-flighted to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. Ferguson is being treated at Mercy Regional Health Center.
Three others, Joel Solano, 900 Garden Way, Apt. 9, 28, Erica Campos, 28, and 1-year-old Elyana Solano, both of Topeka, were also present during the shooting, but they were uninjured.
Joel Solano and Ferguson, both soldiers, were in the same unit as Lowery.
Police have not released a motive for the shooting, nor the circumstances in which the shooting took place, but have said they believe the shooting to be an isolated incident. The victims reportedly told police that Wilson opened fire on them as they emerged from the apartment.
Wilson is confined to the Riley County Jail on $2 million bond.
The apartment complex has been the scene of about 40 reports of illegal activity over the past year. The most serious prior to Sunday occurred Oct. 15 when three people, two of them roommates at Garden Way, were arrested based on a search warrant. Police found 1.75 pounds of marijuana and $4,605 in an apartment at the complex.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Manhattan/Riley County CrimeStoppers at (785) 539-7777 or Toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit their website, www.manhattanrileycountycrimestoppers.com, for other options.