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Neighbor dispute turns into all-out brawl, police say

June 7, 2011

A broom, rocks, pepper spray, hedge-clippers and a knife were all featured weapons in a brawl between neighbors near 60th Street and Garfield Avenue last week, according to a Wauwatosa police report.

Also according to the report:

The 15-year-old son living in the upper unit of the home took out the garbage about 10 p.m. June 1 and noticed an empty can of lighter fluid inside. He suspected the downstairs neighbors had used it, so he and his mother went to talk to them.

The lower-level residents immediately got confrontational, denying use of the lighter fluid and yelling profanities. The mother called the landlord because there have been ongoing troubles between the neighbors.

Meanwhile, the 50-year-old Wauwatosa man living downstairs called his sister, a 47-year-old Milwaukee woman, who drove over to the home. She ran into the lower unit and grabbed a broom, which she later used to hit the teen several times.

The chronology of events is a bit muddled, with different people relaying information to officers in different ways.

"A gun was mentioned, but there was no evidence to that," Lt. Gerald Witkowski said. "No gun was recovered."

A butcher knife, however, was involved, according to the report. The man living downstairs chased the boy and his 19-year-old male cousin down the street while wielding the knife.

When officers arrived, the man had cuts to his face, was bleeding from the eye and was complaining of dizziness, so he was taken to Froedtert Hospital.

Also according to the report: At some point, hedge-cutters were used to break a window on the upper unit, rocks were thrown at the sister's car and someone used pepper spray on the group.

The sister affiliated with the lower unit and the boy and his 19-year-old male cousin from the upper unit were all arrested for battery and disorderly conduct. The 50-year-old man living in the lower unit was arrested for endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon. All are to appear in court Thursday for charging.

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