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Witness account gives insight into Brookfield neighborhood dispute turned shooting

A Brookfield man could be charged with three counts of attempted homicide after neighborhood dispute turns into gunfire.

Kathy Boknevitz's husband Greg was there Sunday afternoon when it happened.

"As far as Greg was concerned there was no bonfire," she said. "That's not true at all."

She said Greg was one of two visitors in a neighbor's backyard, when Hubert Smith, 76, came outside. Boknevitz said Smith, whom she calls Junior, then made an obscene comment to the homeowner, his next door neighbor.

"Shawn took a picture of him, wanted to take a picture of Junior because Junior had harassed him in the past so he was documenting things," Boknevitz said.

But that apparently sent Smith over the edge. Brookfield Police said he went back inside his home, got a gun and fired five rounds at the three men.

A 50-year-old victim was hit in the buttocks and arm and released from the hospital Monday afternoon. The other, a 51-year-old, was struck in the head and is still being treated.

"My husband somehow got behind Shawn's garage without incident," she said. "He wasn't harmed at all, he just lost his shoe and cell phone."

"They had guns drawn and standing in front of our driveway," said neighbor Cynthia Nowicki.

Nowicki said the fright Smith caused the neighborhood is extreme, but not out of the ordinary.

"He was always calling the police on people," she said. "It was too loud, he didn't like fireworks. The houses didn't look right, our wood wasn't stacked right. You name it, he was not pleasant."

She said everyone knew to stay away from his home at the corner of Edwards and James, in fact, that's why Nowicki built an enclosed patio. She said neighbors tried to be nice, but it was never enough.

"No one likes to think their neighbor will snap," she said.

"I've said many prayers of thanks and prayed for Vince and Shawn and also for Junior," Boknevitz said. "This just wasn't good."

Brookfield Police said there have been previous issues between the neighbors. Smith is expected to appear in Waukesha County Court Tuesday afternoon.

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