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Broken lawnmower led to neighbor’s killing

Edward Frank Holzinger (Photo courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

MINNEAPOLIS -- A borrowed lawnmower that came back broken was behind a stewing confrontation that boiled over into fatal violence Tuesday in Minneapolis, prosecutors say.

Edward Frank Holzinger, 61, told police he was “pissed off” and his neighbor “wouldn’t leave it alone,” according to the second-degree murder charge filed against him Thursday in Hennepin County District Court. The two had been feuding for days after Holzinger lent the neighbor his lawnmower and then accused him of returning it broken, witnesses told police.

The feud in the 100 block of 15th Avenue Northeast turned violent after the victim, Bruce Wayne Brown, 47, approached Holzinger’s porch against the advice of family members. Holzinger was waiting there with a loaded handgun.

According to the criminal complaint, Holzinger had been sitting on the porch with his gun as early as 5:30 that evening. A woman renting a room from Holzinger told police she asked him what he was doing and he said he was “waiting for that son of a bitch Bruce.” He said he was going to shoot Brown if he came over again, she told police.

About three hours later, Brown was grilling hamburgers with family in his backyard near Holzinger’s home. Brown called out to Holzinger and “sarcastically” asked if he wanted a hamburger, Brown’s niece told police. Holzinger answered, “Come over and find out,” she told police.

Though family members told him to ignore Holzinger, Brown walked to the front of Holzinger’s house and, moments later, gunshots rang out.

Holzinger’s renter asked what happened and he said, “I’m going to jail,” she reported.

When police arrived, Brown was lying on the sidewalk and his niece was trying to stop the blood pouring from his chest.

Holzinger approached as she was trying to save Brown’s life and said, “He deserved it. He called me a pedophile. I know I’m going to jail and I don’t care,” she later told police.

Holzinger’s renter pointed him out to police. Standing on his front steps, Holzinger immediately put his hands up when police approached, according to the complaint.

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