Police: Suspect Used Liquor Store's Gun To Kill Manager

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka police say a man who shot and killed the manager of a local liquor store during a Christmas Eve robbery used a gun from inside the business.

Matthew Hill, 41, was murdered Saturday afternoon while on duty at the Hudson Liquor Store on SE 15th Street.

According to police, the father of three was beaten with a pry bar, shot and robbed by a drunken man captured on surveillance cameras.

The suspect is described as a white male about 6 feet tall, slender build and wearing multi-colored pajama pants. He was last observed running south from the business.

Police are still investigating whether or not the suspect brought the crowbar with him but as for the gun used to kill Hill, officials say it was already inside the store- kept near the register by management as a form of protection and turned on Hill during the brutal attack. Managers and owners of the business had no comment and police would not reveal how the incident played out.

"He opened the door and let his killer in and probably just talked to him like he does everybody else: 'Hey bro bro! What's up? What can I get for you?' And then apparently, the guy hit him with the crow bar, he got the money out of the cash register, hit him again and the guy ended up killing him and got away. Matt was 130 lbs and he was 5'6", 5'7". That guy towered over him. I don't understand why he had to kill him. He had the money. Just go! Just leave," Hill's girlfriend, Amy Sanford, told 13 News Wednesday.

"I can't understand. It just kills me because something that was there to protect him ended up taking his life and it's just horrible," she added.

Officials say the liquor store does not need a concealed carry permit as long as the gun is kept inside the business.

Meanwhile, the search for Hill’s murderer continues. Investigators say tips continue to pour in from the public- a massive effort to identify the man responsible for so much heartache.

"He'll do it again. We need justice for the family, for the girls. They need to know that this guy isn't going to go out there and do it again to somebody else. They need to know they're not going to take somebody else's daddy from them," Sanford said.

Funeral services have been set for Hill, who friends say is a veteran and served in the Navy in the Gulf War.

A visitation will be held for family and friends Friday from 6-8 PM at the Davidson Funeral Home on North Kansas Avenue in Topeka. A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 2 PM at the Davidson Funeral Home.

A fund has been set up for Matthew Hill's family at CoreFirst Bank. You can make donations at any branch to the Hill Girls' Trust Fund. A personal friend of Hill is also personally offering a $1,000 reward in the case.

The Rob Wade Band is playing Saturday night at the Dugout on SW Fairlawn Rd. in Topeka from 9 PM- 1 AM in Hill's honor. All of the proceeds from the door at the benefit concert will be added to the reward.

Topeka police revealed late Wednesday that they are releasing surveillance video from inside the store in the hopes of generating more tips. Footage released earlier this week only showed the suspect walking into the liquor store before the murder. Officials hope someone will recognize the suspect's mannerisms. The video will air Wednesday night on 13 News at 10 PM.

Anyone with information on Hill's murder is asked to immediately call Detective George Henley 368-9491 or the Watch Commander through the communications center at 368-9551.


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