WWJ news anchor reported dead in Chesterfield Twp. attack

Chesterfield Township — One person is dead and four are in the hospital after authorities say a 54-year-old man attacked a woman, her children and the children's father, reported to be WWJ-AM (950) evening anchor Jim Matthews.

Police say the suspect entered the home near Jefferson Avenue and Hooker Road Friday morning.

While the timeline and motive remain unclear, Brian Bassett, the township's public safety director, said that it appeared the man stabbed the woman, 35.

Authorities were called around noon to Hidden Harbor Condominiums after the woman escaped the home with her 5-year-old daughter. The woman was able to call 911 thanks to help from a car driving by, Bassett said.

When authorities reached the house, they found the woman's son, 10, tied up in a closet with injuries from blunt force trauma.

Brian Bassett, Chesterfield Township's public safety director, speaks to the news media about a reported stabbing at the Hidden Harbor Condominums off Jefferson Avenue and Hooker Road in Chesterfield Township on Friday.

Matthews was the 57-year-old man found dead, WWJ reported Friday evening. In an online statement, the station described Matthews, who spent seven years as an evening anchor, as a man who loved his two children as well as his job.

"There have been many tears shed in our newsroom today and Jim will be greatly missed," the station's statement read. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family and friends during this difficult time."

While announcing the news during their segment Friday night, colleagues Jackie Paige and Tony Ortiz referred to Matthews as a "consummate professional."

"Jim was always that guy, the friendly guy, the guy who would stick his neck out for you and the guy who said, 'hey, look, you need some help? You need anything, I'm the guy to come to,'" Ortiz said. "Jim will definitely be missed."

Reached for comment Friday night, WWJ staffers referred to the station's statement.

Jim Matthews

The suspect, who has not been named by police, was found in the home's basement, where it appeared he had overdosed and attempted to commit suicide, Bassett said. It was not clear what he had overdosed on as of Friday evening.

The woman is in critical condition but is stable as of Friday afternoon, Bassett said. Her son is in critical condition, while her daughter is stable. The suspect was also in stable condition.

"Our investigation has determined this is an isolated tragedy that does not present a danger to our community at this time," Bassett said during a news conference Friday afternoon. "The Chesterfield Public Safety Department will not rest until we receive justice for our victims."

Investigators described the incident as a domestic situation.

Bassett encouraged those facing domestic violence to reach out to law enforcement, saying that "one victim of domestic violence is too many victims of domestic violence."

Nearby Schmidt Elementary was placed on lockdown not because of any safety risk but to minimize students' exposure to the scene, Bassett said. Students were seen leaving the school on buses and with parents Friday afternoon.

Chesterfield Township Police officer at the scene of a reported stabbing at the Hidden Harbor development off Jefferson Avenue and Hooker Road in Chesterfield Township on Friday, September, 23, 2022.