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Detectives: Feud between neighbors at Pinellas mobile home park ends in death

Pinellas Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Hoddinott stands at Keith Lewandowski’s home in the Riviera Mobile Home Estates on U.S. 19 N, Clearwater, Wednesday. Lewandowski, 46, was shot and killed by a neighbor, who had been drinking, authorities said.
Published Jul. 5, 2012

CLEARWATER — Debby Miller thought her cat was whining to come inside.

She opened the door to her home in the Riviera Mobile Home Estates about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. No cat. There was a loud pop. A blown transformer, she thought. But her power hadn't gone out.

A neighbor ran past in fear, and Miller realized a few things. The pop was a gunshot. The noise she thought was her cat had been neighbor Sandra Lewandowski screaming for help. And the longtime feud between Sandra's husband, Keith, and neighbor Bruce Schunk had just been settled.

Schunk, 65, settled it with a .45-caliber handgun, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He shot and killed Keith Lewandowski, 46, then returned to his home on the same street, the Sheriff's Office said. Schunk was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Sandra Lewandowski gave the following account, according to Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri:

Keith was on the couch. Sandra was in the kitchen. A side door to their home opened. It had been unlocked. Schunk stood there, holding a gun.

"He (Schunk) said he had had enough, or something to that effect," said Gualtieri.

Sandra went to call 911, and Schunk pointed the gun at her. Keith moved in front of her, and Schunk pulled the trigger, shooting Keith in the face.

Keith Lewandowski was pronounced dead at the scene. Schunk was arrested without incident, and the Sheriff's Office said it recovered the gun. Schunk had been drinking, Gualtieri said.

The shooting was the first violent incident between the men, although Gualtieri said deputies had been called to the mobile home park at 29141 U.S. 19 N several times for disputes involving Schunk and Lewandowski. Call records were not available Wednesday.

"They were insignificant things, compared to what happened today," Gualtieri said.

Schunk had never been arrested for a crime in Florida before Wednesday, state records show. Lewandowski was arrested in August 2009 for battery upon a spouse and tampering with a witness, but charges were dropped.

As sheriff's vehicles and TV news trucks filled the streets Wednesday afternoon, neighbors gathered in the shade of Paul Kane's home. They sipped cans of Busch beer and looked in wonder at the neighborhood crime scene.

Air conditioning units hummed. Wind chimes chimed. Flags fluttered. The television trucks sprouted masts. Some people who lived a few streets away drove over. They had been laying by their pool when the TV truck masts rose over the tree tops, they said. They wanted to see what was going on.

Just after 2:45 p.m., deputies escorted Schunk to a cruiser. He lay across the back seat as he passed his neighbors, then the cameras.

A few minutes later, a deputy started taking down some of the crime-scene tape, including the string that ran in front of Paul Kane's home.

"Is Sandy doing all right, considering?" a woman asked the deputy.

"Yeah," he said. He shook his head, and added: "Considering."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.


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