The woman chased through a Fort Thomas office parking lot before she was shot four times Tuesday morning by her estranged husband had a protective order dismissed against him just four months ago.
Police said Alisha Waters Mathis, 31, was tracked down and shot by Dennis Mathis on Tuesday on her way to work at Personal Touch Home Health Care, located at 20 North Grand Ave. She remains hospitalized.
According to reports, Mathis, 32, chased his wife into the three-story brick office building, shooting her several times before turning the gun on himself. He died at the scene.
Fort Thomas police said the first call reporting the shooting came in at about 8 a.m.
According to court records, Waters had been separated from her husband of five years since March and told a court in her petition for a protective order that he had been verbally abusing her, texting her and calling her repeatedly.
"I am in fear for the safety of myself and my two dogs,'' according to the court records.
On April 16, a judge granted the order - restricting Mathis to stay more than 500 feet from her. But six days later - and on the same day as he filed for divorce - a judge dismissed the protective order, saying there was "no allegation of domestic violence."
Family members said Waters Mathis was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where she remains in critical condition. Officials reported she was released from surgery at about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.
She was alert and talking to paramedics when she was taken to UCMC, according to family members.
Family members told 9 On Your Side’s Shannon Kettler the couple has no children.
The family said they are shocked that the shooting happened.
"We are asking for a lot of thoughts and prayers,” Waters Mathis’ brother, Kurt Russell, said.
Fort Thomas police Lt. Rich Whitford said a witness reported seeing a man chase a woman into the building before the shooting happened.
Whitford said officers could see people hanging out of the building when they arrived.
The officers who arrived thought they had an active shooter situation and entered the building, Whitford said.
“A witness (was) saying he parked around another office complex and ran after her, (and) chased her into the building; that’s where he caught up with her and shot her multiple times in the lobby, that’s where we found her. She’s been shot multiple times. I think he used a .380 (caliber) handgun,” Whitford said.
Waters Mathis was unconscious when officers found her.
Officials said about 20 people were evacuated from the building during the emergency.
“It's a horrible situation. I am just glad no one else was injured. I hope she makes it,” Whitford said. “It's going to be a long day.”
The lieutenant said the shooting happened in the first-floor lobby of the building.
Police let workers back into the office complex by late morning after the scene was cleared, according to people who work there.
"(It’s) pretty scary, I feel terrible for the ladies in there,” attorney Tim Schneider said. “They told us the scene was secure for us to bring back our workers, … it’s just sad for the people who were hurt in the situation.”
Schneider works for the Fessler, Schneider and Grimme law firm, in an office close to the scene.
The shooting has put the normally quiet community of Fort Thomas on edge.
Resident Tammy Nolan said, “As a Fort Thomas resident, I’m shocked; you usually don’t hear of suicides and that kind of thing. Stuff like this happens but it just doesn’t happen here”
Independence police searched Mathis' home about noon Tuesday. It was unclear what they were looking for.
According to Boone County records the couple married on July 26, 2008. Kenton County Circuit Court records state Waters Mathis said she had not been living with her husband since March.
She was afraid that her husband may have been following her, according to the petition she wrote seeking the protective order on April 16.
According to the petition for the order, she wrote that her husband was on medication for mental illness "which I firmly believe he has not been taking." The records do not indicate from what illness her husband may have suffered from.
The records state Waters filed for divorce on April 22, 2013, saying his marriage was irretrievably broken.
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