A man with possible ties to Murrayville was shot by a SWAT team member in Bronson, Florida, Monday morning as law enforcement sought to detain him as a suspect in the death of a 6-month-old boy found in Dothan, Alabama, authorities said.
Carlton James Mathis, 28, was in a vehicle with three other people when shot by the SWAT team after Mathis pointed a gun at the vehicle’s driver, Alachua County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer said. He was being treated for injuries at a nearby hospital.
The Dothan Eagle newspaper reported Houston County coroner Robert Byrd said the baby had been dead between three and five days when found Monday, June 4, at In Town Suites in Dothan by the Dothan Police Department, which was serving a search warrant. Byrd also told the Dothan Eagle the infant was being sent to Montgomery for an autopsy. The newspaper reported authorities said it’s unclear where the child was killed.
Rhodenizer said he didn’t know the relationship between Mathis and the infant, deferring comment to Dothan Police. Dothan Police then directed The Times to the department’s online presence, which didn’t list the connection between the infant and Mathis.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office heard from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3, that the baby was believed to be dead and Mathis could be in Alachua County, the county that includes Gainesville, Florida. Mathis is wanted on an outstanding warrant in Hall County.
“Unable to locate Mathis at the location provided in Alachua County, deputies continued to investigate and learned Mathis may be in the Bronson area of Levy County,” the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Monday afternoon Facebook post. “Providing that information to the Levy County Sheriff's Office, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team responded to Bronson at Levy County’s request to assist in locating the suspect.”
Authorities said about 4:30 a.m. Monday Mathis was seen leaving a home and getting into a red SUV at Bronson Villas & Villages. They said Mathis threatened the driver of the vehicle, “forcing a SWAT operator to shoot Mathis.”
Rhodenizer said Mathis knew the driver of the vehicle, “but that didn’t stop him from pointing a gun at him.”
Other SWAT personnel treated Mathis for his wounds, and he was taken to a local hospital, authorities said. Another passenger and another SWAT operator had “minor injuries from glass and/or shrapnel.”
The Alachua Sheriff’s Office said upon his release from the hospital Mathis will be booked in at the Levy County Jail on an aggravated assault charge for pointing the gun at the driver in Bronson and “held for his warrant in Georgia, as well as the outcome of the homicide investigation.”
While Rhodenizer said Mathis knew the driver, the sergeant added, “I don’t know what pulled (Mathis) to Florida.” The spokesman also said one of the car’s occupants was known to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, which he added should have more information on how the four people in the car are connected in the coming days.
Mathis was previously named as a person of interest in an April 1 Texaco station burglary in North Hall. He was wanted on an outstanding parole warrant, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said in an April 10 lookout. The lookout said Mathis has “been known to frequent the Murrayville area, but he also has family connections in Thomaston.”
Dothan Police wrote on Facebook at 9:21 a.m. Monday that Mathis “is currently undergoing treatment. Dothan Police are on the way to the scene as part of the criminal investigation, as well as investigating the crime scene here in Dothan. Details about the murder will be released later.”
With Mathis’ alleged crimes spanning three states, Rhodenizer said, “This will take some diligence and it will take some time to put it together.”