TOWN OF ANNSVILLE — One man is dead after being shot with a shotgun in a domestic dispute between brothers on Friday, according to law enforcement officials.
The accused gunman, 27-year-old Matthew E. Westcott, is in custody for murder, state police said. This is the first homicide in Oneida County outside of Utica this year.
State police spokesperson Trooper Jack Keller said Westcott and his older brother, 30-year-old James E. Westcott, got into a “verbal disagreement” and then a “physical altercation” at the family home at 3664 Route 69 in Annsville Friday morning. The dispute took place inside the home.
“At one point, it appears that one of these brothers grabbed a shotgun and shot the other brother,” Keller stated.
Troopers said Matthew shot and killed James at the residence.
A family of five live at the home: two parents and three adult brothers. The entire family is believed to have been home at the time. Keller said the father, Edward Westcott, was the first to respond.
“He heard the shotgun, ran in, grabbed the gun and also called 9-1-1,” Keller explained.
Keller said Edward wrestled the shotgun away from Matthew. The father called 9-1-1 at 12:09 p.m. State police arrived on the scene and Keller said Matthew Westcott was taken into custody without further incident.
James Westcott was rushed to Rome Health where he had been first listed in critical condition. State police said James Westcott died Friday afternoon at the hospital.
Matthew Westcott is charged with one count each of second-degree murder, a class A felony, and third-degree possession of a weapon, a class D felony, troopers said. He is scheduled to appear in court.
Troopers are still “very early” into the investigation, Keller noted.
“I don’t have any specific details what the fight was about,” he said. They are also trying to determine if there had been any previous 9-1-1 calls to that residence or involving the family.
According to state prison records, Matthew Westcott previously served nearly two years in state prison on a charge of menacing a police officer. Authorities said at 2:45 a.m. May 13, 2015, Matthew Westcott threatened a sheriff’s deputy with a machete inside the Rome Walmart.
Authorities said Westcott also threw a small knife at the officer, hitting him in the leg. Westcott was sentenced to two years in prison and was released on parole in May 2017.