Tenant shoots landlord after being told to vacate Seminole County home, deputies say

Michael Mathews, 50, faces felony charges

SANFORD, Fla. – A man renting a bedroom in Seminole County was arrested Sunday, accused of shooting his landlord after being told to leave the residence, deputies said.

Michael Mathews, 50, was with his girlfriend in the bedroom of a home on South Crystal View when his landlord — who deputies noted has one arm — entered the room and demanded they both leave within 10 minutes, warning that a friend of his was present and ready to help remove the two by force, according to an arrest report.

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After around 15 minutes, the landlord was back in the rented bedroom, again demanding that Mathews and his girlfriend leave, the report states.

Mathews took out a pistol and began waving it around, demanding that the landlord leave the room, deputies said. The landlord told investigators that he was shot in the left clavicle area as he turned to walk away.

A different version of the story came from Mathews and his girlfriend; according to their testimony, the landlord kicked the girlfriend while advancing toward them the second time and had jumped on the bed before being shot by Mathews.

According to the arrest report, Mathews told deputies he was tired of the way he was being treated and disrespected while living at the house, adding he felt threatened by the possibility that the landlord would push him through a sliding glass door directly behind him.

Given the landlord’s disability and how he did not have a weapon, deputies said there was no justification for the shooting as the only “threats” made to Mathews were the landlord’s statements of how he intended to remove him and his girlfriend by force.

Mathews faces charges of attempted second-degree murder and possessing a firearm as a felon.

News 6 has reached out to the sheriff’s office to learn if Mathews had been served a notice of eviction or notice of entry; we checked Seminole County court records in the meantime and could not locate an eviction filed relative to this incident.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.