A Minnesota Neighborhood Was Ripped Apart Over A Dispute Turned Deadly

In August of 2016, all hell broke loose when one neighbor accused another of breaking his lawn mower.

Bruce Brown was found shot to death in August 2016 after an argument with his neighbor, Ed Holzinger.

In August 2016, all hell broke loose when one neighbor accused another of breaking his lawn mower.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Fear Thy Neighbor")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Fear Thy Neighbor")

Bruce and Hannah Brown loved their Minneapolis, Minnesota neighborhood. The Texas transplants felt right at home as soon as they’d arrived on their quiet residential street.

Hannah stayed home with the couple’s daughter, Cecelia, who was in high school, and Bruce worked in the steel industry. They were friendly with their next door neighbor, Ed Holzinger, a single man in his 60s. Despite a 20-year age gap, Bruce and Holzinger struck up a fairly close friendship and often shared a beer on the porch after work.

Holzinger and his roommate, Helen, were meticulous about their lawn. In the summer, Holzinger spent hours tending the grass while Helen kept a small garden. While Helen was cold towards the Brown family, Holzinger often stepped into the yard to chat when he saw Bruce and Hannah outside.

Bruce and Holzinger often shared tools back and forth, and the day Bruce asked to borrow the lawn mower was no different. After Bruce cut his own grass, he returned the mower back to Holzinger’s home and found his friend in serious emotional distress.

Holzinger had gotten a letter in the mail — the cabinet company where he’d worked for years was forcing him into an early retirement. Losing a job he loved caused him to withdraw from the community. The neighborhood assumed Holzinger just needed time and would return to his normal, jovial self once some time had passed.

Escalating Conflict

Holzinger continued to spiral downwards over the next several days. He was withdrawn and drinking. One day in August 2016, Bruce answered a knock at his door to find a furious Holzinger yelling at him for breaking the lawn mower.

No, Bruce insisted, it was fine when he had returned it. After Bruce used the mower, Helen had cut the grass in an empty lot in the neighborhood. Bruce and Hannah were certain Helen was the one who had damaged the mower, but Bruce was willing to buy Holzinger a replacement mower in order to keep the peace.

The agreement had just one stipulation — Bruce wanted the broken mower if he was going to give Holzinger the money to purchase a new one. The suggestion angered Holzinger even further and he stormed back to his house.

The Browns assumed that the whole incident would blow over once Holzinger had time to calm down and sober up. They had no idea just how wrong they were.

Within another couple days, Holzinger banged on the door at the Browns’ house again, this time while Bruce was working. He tried talking to Hannah about his broken lawn mower and showed her the ruined blade. Hannah, who was trying to stay out of the feud, told Holzinger she would let Bruce know that he had been by.

Watch as Ed’s fury continues to grow on Fear Thy Neighbor on ID on Sept. 12 at 9/8c. More episodes are available now on discovery+.

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