AVON PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – A 91 year old man is behind bars for attempted murder. Deputies say Max Horton threatened to kill a lawn maintenance worker after an argument over lawn clippings.
Highlands County deputies say at 11:30 Thursday morning, a lawn care company was doing yardwork on Palo Verde Drive in Avon Park. During the work, some lawn clippings blew onto a car parked in Horton’s driveway. The car was owned by Horton’s caregiver, and deputies say Horton was angry.
According to sheriff’s office documents, Horton ordered the lawn care worker to come over to him. The two men knew each other.
Horton began arguing and cursing at the lawn serviceman. Even though the lawn care worker had by then removed the grass from the car, Horton pulled out a gun and pointed it at him.
Chief Deputy Mark Schrader with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said, “After he pulled the gun on him he told the victim to get on the ground on his knees and he was saying that he was going to kill him.” The lawn service man screamed for mercy and at that moment a coworker ran by. Horton fired a shot, missed, and the two lawn care men tackled him to the ground.
Horton was arrested and charged with attempted first degree murder. The 91 year old was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.
Deputies had to bypass nearby Florida Hospital because Horton had a trespass warning there. Deputies say in 2013, Horton made verbal threats to staff there, telling them he had a gun in his vehicle.
When asked if Horton could have mental illness, Chief Deputy Schrader responded, “We don’t know that right now, obviously that will be looked at in the criminal justice system.”
Neighbors say Horton is known for his fiery temper, but no one would’ve expected him to do this. Neighbor Wes Kaufmann said, “Honestly it makes me wonder if I should buy a gun.”
Kaufmann hopes Horton gets help. He said, “I don’t think you need to put a 91 year old man in the Florida State prison.”
Deputies say there is a lesson we all can learn from this. If someone is trying to pick a fight with you, it’s always best to walk away. Horton is being held at the Highlands County Jail.