Police say a neighborhood dispute in Randolph, Mass., ended when one man threw a beer can and the other threw lead. An argument over a fence led to the wounding of one man, the arrest of his neighbor and the confiscation of guns and ammunition from the man’s house.
Police say a neighborhood dispute ended when one man threw a beer can and the other threw lead.
An argument over a fence led to the wounding of one Pleasant Street man, the arrest of his neighbor and the confiscation of guns and ammunition from the man’s house.
Christopher Leonard, 38, pleaded innocent Monday in Quincy District Court to armed assault with intent to murder and was released on $20,000 bail.
Police say he shot his neighbor John Rota about 10 p.m. Friday. Rota suffered a bullet wound to the abdomen. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
Rota told police that Leonard and his wife were in their backyard near an above-ground fire pit when he stopped by with his dog.
Rota said that he and Leonard talked about a fence that Leonard had built between their properties and that Leonard had told him that he wanted to dump some leaves on Rota’s side of the fence, according to a police report filed with the court.
Rota said that since the fence went up, Leonard has constantly made a “big deal” about it. Rota said that Leonard had moved the fence back from the property line onto his own property to make it easier for him (Rota) to use a shed on his land, the police report says.
Leonard’s wife left while the two men were having words, Rota told police.
“Leonard continued to argue about the fence and came closer to Rota. Rota said that when Leonard came close to him he told him ‘If you want to fight me, go ahead and hit me,’” the report said.
Leonard struck Rota on the side of the head. Rota threw a beer can at Leonard, the police report says.
Rota told police that Leonard then reached into his waistband, pulled out a gun and shot him.
Rota told police he walked toward his house, got weaker and fell to the ground. “He pulled himself onto a bench and called 911,” the report says.
Leonard walked over to him and pressed a sweatshirt against the wound, Rota said.
Rota told police that Leonard constantly showed off his gun and always carried it with him.
“He said that even when Leonard is cutting the lawn or playing with the kids in the yard, he has his gun with him,” the police report says.
Police said they found the loaded handgun believed to have been used to shoot Rota in a basket on the top of the refrigerator in Leonard’s home. At least 12 other weapons were found, including handguns and shotguns, along with ammunition in safes in Leonard’s bedroom and basement.
Leonard has a license to own the guns, police said.
Leonard’s wife, Nicole told police that he had been out drinking with co-workers the night of the shooting.
“Nicole stated that Christopher has a drinking problem and can get violent when he drinks,” the police report says.
Leonard was scheduled to return to court for a probable cause hearing Nov. 12. He is also charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building and improper storage of a firearm.
The Patriot Ledger