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Prosecutors allege shooter targeted 2 male neighbors

By Katherine Wartell

New details emerged Wednesday in Sunday’s deadly shooting at a Manhattan apartment complex, including allegations that the suspected gunman may have been targeting his two male neighbors.

Matthew Wilson, 43, made his first appearance in Riley County District Court Wednesday in front of District Judge Meryl Wilson. According to the complaint against him, Wilson allegedly entered into a neighbor’s apartment, belonging to Dustin Ferguson, 22, and Joel Solano, 28, at 900 Garden Way at about 4 a.m. Sunday and opened fire, killing one man and wounding three others. 

He is charged with first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated burglary.

Michael Lowery, 22, a Fort Riley soldier who recently returned from Afghanistan, died on the scene from gunshot wounds. Lowery is not listed as living at the apartment but family members indicate he was staying there at the time of the shooting. Lowery, Ferguson and Solano were members of the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion Alpha Company at Fort Riley.

In the state’s complaint , Wilson is charged with premeditated or alternately felony first-degree murder against Lowery. In the case of felony first-degree murder, which is murder during the commission of an inherently dangerous felony, the state accuses Wilson of killing Lowery while attempting to kill either Solano or Ferguson.

Ferguson, along with Christine Kim, 23, Junction City, and Alexya Mailea, 23, Manhattan, were injured during the shooting. Kim and Mailea, former and current K-State students, were life-flighted to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. Ferguson was treated at Mercy Regional Health Center.

Both women are still hospitalized, but on Thursday, hospital officials said Kim is in fair condition, while Mailea is in good condition.

Though authorities originally reported that Wilson was charged with three counts of attempted murder for those injured, a subsequent count, attempted murder against Solano, was listed in court Wednesday.

In that count, Wilson is accused of trying to enter into Solano’s bedroom, stating that he was going to shoot through the door after saying he was there to “kill the men.”

Solano, along with another woman, Erica Campos, 28, Topeka, and a 1-year-old-baby who were present, were not injured. The count of burglary stems from the allegation that Wilson entered the apartment without authority with the intent to commit a felony.

Wilson is confined to the Riley County Jail on $2 million bond. He will not be formally charged until a future arraignment, following the judge’s determination that there is enough evidence to bind him for trial.

Wilson, who will be appointed an attorney by the court, is scheduled to appear on April 22 for a hearing to determine the date of his preliminary hearing.

If tried and convicted, Wilson would face a mandatory life sentence for the charge of first degree murder, with parole after 20 or 25 years, and a possible sentence of 155 months for each count of attempted murder, to be served either consecutively or concurrently at the discretion of the judge.

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