Suffolk man hospitalized after fight over grass clippings

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-05 11:14:25-04

Suffolk, Va. - A fight over grass clippings landed a Suffolk man in the hospital.

According to police, 63-year-old Gerald Tew was attacked by his 49-year-old neighbor John Burton.

“I had my back turned to him. And all of a sudden out of the blue, here comes this man right in my face… six inches from my face, threatening me,” Gerald says.

Gerald says it’s all because of grass clippings. He told NewsChannel 3 he was mowing his and his neighbor’s lawns as he always does, when Burton demanded he clean up the clippings.

“My next door neighbor approached me and asked if I couldn’t sweep the roadway off, not to cut the grass at all. I told him I wasn’t going to sweep the grass,” Gerald says.

That’s when he says Burton hit him, knocking him to the ground.

“My shirt was covered in blood. It was like a bomb just fell out of the sky and boom on top of your head. It wasn’t a good feeling, I can tell you that,” Gerald says.

He says he couldn’t see, so his neighbors called police. And when officers got there, Burton was threatening the 63-year-old man’s life, according to court documents.

Gerald says he has cut his neighbor’s lawns for years and not once has it ever been a problem.

“I’m a really good handyman and people always need me and I always try to help them and I just try to be a good neighbor. And this cat comes out here and did bodily harm to me,” he says.

Gerald says he’s had minor issues with Burton in the past, but things never got physical.

Now, Burton is in jail for malicious wounding charges and didn’t get back to us on our request for an interview.

As for Gerald, he says he isn’t angry and just wants to move on.

"I was angry when it first happened. But after I had time to think about it, you just let bygones be bygones. That's the way I was raised. Don't stir the pot more than you have to because it just gets worse,” he says.