No charges will be filed against a Stuart, FL, man who shot and killed his neighbor after his neighbor sprayed him in the face with insect spray.
On January 29, 2022, Stuart Police arrived on the scene to find the shooter face down in his front yard with a gun in his hand. Shortly thereafter, they found his neighbor lying in his own backyard. He stated that his neighbor had shot him. He was airlifted to the hospital, where he later died.
On the day of the shooting, as the soon-to-be-shooter was leaving home, he stated that he saw his neighbor draw his hand across his throat in a threatening manner. Upon returning home, he opened his door to see what his dog was barking at and saw the neighbor standing by the defender’s mailbox. His dog ran towards the neighbor, who sprayed it with bug spray. The defender ran toward the street with his gun (that he had started carrying due to his fear of his neighbor) in his pocket. At this point, the neighbor sprayed the man in the face with bug spray.
The defender said that after his neighbor had sprayed him with insect spray, he could not see or breathe and felt as though he was having a heart attack. As he was lying on the ground, the neighbor stood over him and said, “I’ve got you now (expletive).” This is when the man drew his firearm and shot the neighbor.
A can of wasp spray was found in front of the dead man’s house and a kitchen knife beside the shooter’s mailbox. Upon searching the dead man’s home, paperwork was uncovered that seemed to indicate ongoing disagreement between the two men.
The two men had called the police on each other several times in the past with accusations of vandalism, racism, threats, slashed tires, and poisoning.
After his death, the deceased man’s brother said that his brother was a “polarizing figure” but that he (the brother) had recently learned that his deceased brother had been helping out at a food pantry operated by a local church. The pastor of this church said of the deceased man, “you either really liked (him) or you really disliked (him).”
We have probably all known someone like the deceased man. Some people just can’t get along with anyone. All you can try to do is to either befriend them if you can or ignore them if you can’t. Unfortunately, many people like this can neither be befriended nor ignored. Life is too short to live in fear of a neighbor. Packing up and leaving is easier said than done, leaving few options, but to arm oneself, be ready for anything and try to live in relative peace.
The Assistant State Attorney stated that based on the police investigation, the defender had reason to believe that his neighbor was a “violent and dangerous person” and “if the appearance of danger was enough for a reasonably cautious and prudent person to believe that the only way to avoid it was to use deadly force, the use of such force is justified and there is no duty to retreat.” The case was dismissed.