A Florida man accused of fatally shooting a neighbor who was trimming trees along his mother’s property line has been arrested on a murder charge, authorities said Monday.
Edward S. Druzolowski, 78, threatened to shoot Brian J. Ford, 42, who he said was on his property Sunday in DeLeon Springs, Fla., while “trimming tree limbs along the fence line,” the Volusia Sheriff’s Office’s said in a statement posted on social media.
“Druzolowski told detectives he threatened to shoot Ford, and when Ford didn’t leave, he shot him,” the statement said.
Ford died at the scene, the sheriff’s office said.
Officials said deputies responded to two 911 calls reporting the shooting about 7:15 p.m. Sunday, according to an arrest affidavit obtained Monday.
“One of the 911 calls came from the wife of the shooter, in which she stated her husband went outside to scare the neighbor with a gun and shot him,” the affidavit said. “The caller further stated her husband did not mean to do this and he just meant to scare him.”
Druzolowski told a Volusia deputy in a recorded interview, that he retrieved a 357 Magnum revolver and confronted Ford after his wife told him Ford was on his property and that a gate was open, the affidavit said.
Druzolowski told officials that when he told Ford to get off his property, Ford allegedly told him to mind his own business and cursed, the affidavit said.
Ford also told Druzolowski also said that Ford allegedly told him he had a weapon, the affidavit said. Druzolowski said that he warned Ford to stop walking toward him or he would shoot, the document states.
Druzolowski also told the deputy, the affidavit said, he feared for his life, but acknowledged Ford had not threatened him.
Druzolowski was appointed a public defender, but no specific lawyer had been assigned to the case by Monday afternoon, the Office of the Public Defender 7th Judicial Circuit,
Brian Ford’s mother, Linda Ford, 76, said that her 8-year-old grandson witnessed the fatal shooting as he stood next to his father.
“The neighbor came out and said get off my lawn and point-blank shot him,” Ford said.
She said her grandson told her that the suspect “put the gun right up to his heart and pulled the trigger.”
She said her son was helping her cut down tree limbs that were falling and breaking a chain-linked fence near her property line.
Ford said her son never set foot on her neighbor’s property because it’s against the law to put up a fence directly along the property line. Instead, a fence can be put up within two feet of the property line, she said.
Ford said her grandson became hysterical after the shooting. She said the neighbor allegedly pointed the gun at the child after fatally shooting her son.
“My little grandson was going berserk out there. He wanted to be with his daddy, he wanted to lay with his daddy,” she said. “I wanted to get him in the house for safety reasons.”
Ford said her son worked as a handyman, doing whatever odd jobs needed to be done to provide for his family. He had three sons, 20, 18 and 8 years old.
“He was wonderful,” she said. “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”
Ford continued, “His boys were his world, and now they don’t have a daddy.”
Ford said she called 911 after hearing gunfire.
Druzolowski was booked into Volusia County Branch Jail and is being held without bond pending his first court appearance, according to the sheriff’s office.
DeLeon Springs is about 55 miles north of Orlando.