78-year-old accused of killing neighbour over tree-trimming dispute in Florida

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Florida man charged with 2nd-degree murder of neighbour over tree-trimming dispute
WATCH: Florida man charged with 2nd-degree murder of neighbour over tree-trimming dispute

A 78-year-old man from DeLeon Springs, Fla., was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on Sunday after he allegedly shot and killed a man who was helping his mother trim trees on her property.

Police in Volusia County say the victim, Brian J. Ford, 42, was “trimming trees limbs along the fence line” between the two residences when the suspect, Edward S. Druzolowski, “confronted him about being on his property.”

Druzolowski told police that he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot Ford if he didn’t leave. When Ford refused, Druzolowski made good on his word and shot him, police wrote in a press release.

Two deputies were the first to arrive after the shooting and they attempted life-saving measures on Ford until emergency medical responders arrived. Unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful and Ford was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Ford’s eight-year-old son witnessed the shooting that ended his father’s life, according to Ford’s mother Linda. She alleges that Druzolowski even pointed his gun at the little boy after shooting Ford.

“My little grandson was going berserk out there. He wanted to be with his daddy, he wanted to lay with his daddy,” she told NBC News. “I wanted to get him in the house for safety reasons.”

Linda claims that her son wasn’t even on Druzolowski’s property while he was trimming trees because the fence between the two homes was wholly within the Fords’ property line.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by NBC and ABC News, Druzolowski’s wife told police that her husband didn’t mean to kill Ford, “he just meant to scare him.”

In Druzolowski’s interview with police, he said he told Ford “to get off his property and Brian said something to the effect of, ‘mind your business’ followed by some cuss words.”

Druzolowski then pointed his .357 Magnum revolver at him and Ford allegedly “said something like, ‘You are pointing a gun at me, are you going to shoot me?’ and moved closer” to Druzolowski.

The arrest affidavit states that Ford kept walking closer to Druzolowski, even when the 78-year-old said, “Stop right now or I’ll shoot!”

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“Brian kept walking closer to him and that’s when he pulled the trigger for the first time,” the court document reads. “He said his firearm holds 6 rounds in the cylinder, but he keeps the first two empty for safety reasons. He stated Brian heard the gun click and continued to advance towards him, so he pulled the trigger the second time. He advised this time the firearm went off and he shot Brian.”

Druzolowski told police that he was scared of Ford due to his “reputation,” though he admitted that Ford never threatened to hurt him. Two knives were found on Ford’s body by investigators, the affidavit says.

Ford’s mother Linda says Druzolowski shot her son “point blank,” and “put the gun right up to his heart and pulled the trigger.”

Ford worked as a handyman and had three sons, ages 20, 18 and eight, Linda told NBC.

“He was wonderful to his children. He was wonderful to me all the time. He was handy. He would help anybody at any time. He would drop everything,” she said.

“His boys were his world, and now they don’t have a daddy.”

Druzolowski was booked into Volusia County Branch Jail and is being held without bond.


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