DELEON SPRINGS, FL – A 78-year-old Florida man, Edward S. Druzolowski, has been taken into custody on a murder charge. Druzolowski’s arrest took place after the fatal shooting of a man trimming trees near his mother’s property line, according to law enforcement officials on Monday. The victim, Brian J. Ford, 42, was allegedly on Druzolowski’s property on Sunday, trimming tree limbs along the fence line.
Druzolowski reportedly threatened to shoot Ford if he did not vacate the property. When Ford failed to comply, Druzolowski shot him, as per the statement from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. Ford was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident was reported to the authorities via two 911 calls around 7:15 p.m. on Sunday. One of the calls was made by Druzolowski’s wife, who stated that her husband had intended to scare the neighbor with a gun, not shoot him.
In a recorded interview, Druzolowski told a Volusia deputy that he had retrieved a 357 Magnum revolver and confronted Ford after his wife informed him that Ford was on their property and a gate was open. Druzolowski claimed that Ford responded to his demand to leave the property with a curse and a dismissive comment. Druzolowski warned Ford to stop approaching him or he would shoot. He admitted to fearing for his life, despite Ford not making any threats.
As of Monday afternoon, Druzolowski had been assigned a public defender, but no specific attorney had been appointed to his case, according to the Office of the Public Defender 7th Judicial Circuit.
The victim’s mother, Linda Ford, 76, revealed that her 8-year-old grandson witnessed the fatal shooting. She stated that her son was assisting her in trimming tree limbs that were damaging a chain-linked fence near her property line. She insisted that her son never trespassed onto Druzolowski’s property.
Druzolowski was booked into Volusia County Branch Jail and was held without bond on Monday night. He made an initial court appearance earlier that day and was ordered not to possess any firearms.