FOX19 Investigates: Gun used in attempted murder-suicide purchased day before shooting

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Devon Snider says her childhood friend, D.J. Mathis, isn't who people now think he is.

"He was a great guy. Heart of gold. Would do anything for you," Snider said.

Fort Thomas Police say he's the same man who went into an office building at 20 N. Grand Avenue Tuesday morning and shot his estranged wife, Alisha Waters, four times.

FOX19 has learned the handgun Mathis used was purchased Monday at Triggers, a Florence gun store.

According to a statement released by Triggers, "Mr. Mathis completed all paperwork necessary to purchase a firearm… He was cleared by the FBI through their background check.  It was only after that FBI approval that the firearm was sold to Mr. Mathis."

FOX19 has obtained a copy of the application required to purchase a firearm. It includes questions about mental illness and asks whether the gun purchaser has ever been committed to a mental institution.

While those who knew Mathis say he struggled with depression, they say it wasn't to that degree.

FOX19's Amy Wagner asked Snider, "He had never been committed to a mental institution?"  "No. No. Nothing like that," Snider said.

The form also asks whether the gun purchaser was subject to a court restraining order. While Mathis wasn't, FOX19's investigation revealed that his estranged wife had tried to get one.

On an application for a restraining order submitted to Kenton County Judge Lisa Bushelman, Waters wrote, "I'm in fear for the safety of myself and two dogs."

Under Kentucky Law, because Waters never said Mathis physically abused her, the request for a restraining order was dismissed.

Mathis was allowed to purchase a .380 handgun, as a result.

What police say Mathis did with that gun a day later, is something those who knew Mathis are still trying to understand.

"I promise you, if any of us thought that, we would have done something," Snider said.

If Waters survives, she is facing paralysis.

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