CLEARFIELD – A Tyrone man is being accused of firing a gun inside a woman’s home and hitting her with a hammer during a domestic assault earlier this month.
Matthew Ray Strayer, 29, was originally charged by Officer Eric D. Routch of the Lawrence Township police with four felony counts of aggravated assault, six misdemeanor counts of simple assault and a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats.
He was also charged with a felony count each of discharge of firearm into an occupied structure, possession of firearms prohibited, person not to possess/use firearms-fugitive and theft by unlawful taking, plus a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of motor vehicle.
Strayer had most of the charges held for court at his preliminary hearing Wednesday. However, he did have one count of aggravated assault and the theft by unlawful taking charge dismissed; the charge for discharge of firearm into an occupied structure was withdrawn. His bail was modified from $100,000 to $50,000 monetary.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, police received a report about a domestic in progress at approximately 8:42 a.m. Nov. 11 at a residence along the Bloomington – Glen Richey Highway.
Police were initially advised Strayer had entered the victim’s home, fired a gun at her and chased her with a hammer. He had fled the scene in a 2003 white Cadillac Escalade, and the victim had a cut on her left elbow.
Routch requested assistance from Clearfield Borough police. Strayer, who was also known to live in the Tyrone area, continued to text-message the victim and she learned he was “heading toward Curwensville.”
At the victim’s home, the officer went inside and he could smell the “strong odor of a recently-fired weapon.” He saw the victim who held her elbow with a napkin covered in blood. The officer asked if she wanted to seek medical attention and she declined.
Routch was directed to the weapon, a bolt action .22-caliber Martin, on the chair, and he looked into its chamber. He discovered it was jammed, then he secured it inside his patrol unit for safety purposes.
When the officer re-entered the home, he observed a “softball-sized” pattern on the wall from the “birdshot” fire. The victim told police when Strayer shot the weapon, he was in the living room, while she was in the kitchen.
She said Strayer’s shot hit the wall, which divides the kitchen and dining room. The officer saw a spent .22-caliber brass on the floor in the dining room.
While Routch was still present, the victim had Strayer on the phone. He allegedly commented, “I am in Curwensville waiting for police to get here, and when they do, I am going to stab every one of those [expletive].” Then, he hung up.
The officer asked what happened earlier to anger Strayer. The victim said she woke him up and “he just got mad.” She said he began yelling, she went into the kitchen and he got her gun. She said he fired it toward her, put it down and got the hammer.
Strayer allegedly swung it at her and she tried to stop him, but it hit her and he put it down. She said Strayer dumped her purse out on the table and removed the keys to her car, which she didn’t want him to take.
The victim took another call from Strayer and Routch could hear him threaten to stab police again. She responded that he didn’t even have a knife and he related, “I have a butterfly knife on me.” He hung up again and didn’t call back.
The victim attempted to call Strayer back, but he didn’t answer. Police obtained a phone number for Strayer, which was provided to the county to “ping” his whereabouts.
Police sent a be-on-the-lookout alert for the vehicle, which when pinged, appeared to be traveling toward the Tyrone area. Clearfield County Dispatch subsequently made the Pennsylvania State Police aware of the situation.