Dealing with Troublesome Neighbors - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/18/06 - East Texas

Dealing with Troublesome Neighbors

by Ramonica R. Jones

Authorities are still investigating a weekend shooting in Trinity County that left a woman dead and a teenager behind bars.

Tommy Middleton is charged with murder. He's accused of unloading dozens of rounds from an AK 47 unto his neighbor's home. Middleton was reportedly worried the family would hurt a small pet alligator he'd put in a pond behind their home.

He opened fire onto the residence, but one of those stray bullets hit 50-year-old Dody Peroutka of Onalaska. She was leaving the restroom of a nearby bar when a bullet went through the building, hitting her in the abdomen. She died at a hospital.

Tommy Middleton now has a lawyer. Trinity County authorities expect more charges to be filed against him soon.

There are several ways to deal with a troublesome or unruly neighbor. Authorities said you should take the same steps you would with someone on the street that gives you problems.

Captain Tony Galloway of the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said, "If you feel that they're doing things they shouldn't be, contact the law enforcement agency wherever you live and get them to come out and at least advise them of the circumstances."

But before you call the police or sheriff's office, make sure it's a problem you can't deal with on your own. For example, if your neighbor's tree is growing over your property, law enforcement won't be able to help unless there are threats being made.

"If it's getting to the point where you're getting so angry that you might harm someone or you think it might cause a physical confrontation, call law enforcement and at least let them come out and tell you if there's anything we can do or not."

If your neighbor is bothering you, the first thing you should do is go to their home and try to calmly and rationally talk to them. If that doesn't work, call authorities, especially if it's about a serious violation.

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