Neighbors Duke It Out in Suburban Gunfight Over Kid’s Baseball Throw

DELTONA, FL — A man lost a portion of his finger thanks to an argument started between two neighbors over, of all things, a kid throwing a baseball against a fence.

Technically, we’ve got a case of armed home and self-defense here, but it’s really hard to want to champion either party’s cause.

As The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports:

Gregory Castellanos, 41, had no idea Thursday afternoon when he built his 9-year-old son a pitching mound in the backyard of his Howland Boulevard home, carefully measured out the correct distance to the plate, and then marked a “strike zone” with painter’s tape on the wooden fence separating his property from his neighbors, that just an hour later he’d be sitting in the emergency room with part of his hand blown off.

But that fence belonged to his neighbor who was — just a bit farther away than the pitchers mound’s length to the north — trying to enjoy the tranquility of his own backyard as the pitches started hitting the fence.

The argument began around 4 p.m. when Matthew Karnes, 46, said he asked Castellanos’ son to stop throwing a baseball at his fence.

Castellanos told Volusia County sheriff’s investigators that Karnes threatened his son, saying, “If one more ball hits the fence, you are going to see what happens,” an arrest report states.

From there, surveillance video from a camera at Karnes’s home at 1732 Howland Blvd. shows Castellanos arriving at Karnes’ house with a “dark object” tucked into the waistband of his pants. The object then fell to the ground when Castellanos adjusted his shirt, the report states.

Karnes told police that he answered the door to Castellanos, who said, “Which way do you want to do this?” Karnes told police when Castellanos picked up the gun he’d just dropped, he pushed Castellanos out of his doorway, shut the door and went to retrieve a rifle.

He said he shot at Castellanos three times, “and then he starts (expletive deleted) shooting at me.”… Five shots, two from Castellanos’ 9 mm and three from Karnes’ rifle, were likely exchanged, the report states.

Karnes was not hit, but Castellanos did suffer a gunshot wound to the hand which deputies reported “was missing a portion of his finger.”

Castellanos was then taken to the hospital, was later discharged, arrested, and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting into an occupied dwelling and carrying a concealed firearm, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Neither party looks good here, except for the poor kid who was just trying to have a good time. You have a neighbor who allegedly threatened a kid over something completely innocuous, and a father who absolutely did pick a fight out of unhampered rage.

I mean, come on. If you’re going to be that bad a neighbor, move to the country. If you’ve got that big a problem with your neighbor’s behavior with your kid, talk to them, then call the police if you need to.

What a stupid way to get into a deadly conflict.

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