Barefoot Bay Man Arrested After Pointing Gun at Neighbor

Phillip Joseph Russo
Phillip Joseph Russo

A Barefoot Bay man was arrested last weekend after pointing a handgun at his neighbor.

On Sunday, at approximately 11:00 a.m., deputies responded to the 1100 block of Sabal Palm Lane in Barefoot Bay about a disturbance between two neighbors.

According to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, the 77-year-old victim told deputies that his neighbor, identified as 40-year-old Phillip Joseph Russo, pointed a handgun at him as he was leaving his residence.

The victim has observed Russo standing in his driveway with a firearm and holster on his hip. He told deputies that it’s been going on for the past two weeks.

He also advised that Russo has constantly harassed him and his wife and has made verbal threats. The victim has been in fear to the point of purchasing surveillance cameras around his home, the affidavit said.

On Sunday, the victim went to leave his home, and he observed Russo standing near the driveway. As he started his vehicle and backed out, Russo pulled out his firearm from the holster and pointed it in a “defensive posture” towards the victim. He continued to stare at the victim with his handgun drawn as the victim was leaving.

When the victim returned, he verified the encounter captured on surveillance cameras and notified law enforcement.

“I viewed the footage gathered by [the victim’s] surveillance cameras and observed the following: The defendant exited his residence at approximately 0929 hours and stood in the driveway with a firearm in a holster on his hip. An unknown neighbor was heard talking to him, and the defendant waved at him, and a verbal salutation was heard. The door of [the victim’s] residence was heard opening, at which point the defendant immediately removed his firearm from the holster, held it at an angle toward the ground, and stood in a defensive stance. Based on my training and experience, I recognized the firearm position to be considered a ‘low ready’ position and his stance was consistent with a shooting stance,” the deputy said.

The video surveillance then showed Russo taking steps toward the victim’s vehicle with a gaze fixed on the victim while he was leaving, according to the affidavit.

Deputies then spoke with Russo, and he admitted to removing the firearm from the holster and stood in a “modified isosceles” stance while the victim left his residence. Russo said he was afraid that the victim would “come to his residence or drive his vehicle onto his property.”

Russo also admitted that the victim had not made any comments, threatened him, made any gestures, or had any contact with him.

Russo was charged with Felony Aggravated Assault on a Person Over 65 and transported to the Brevard County Jail, where his bond was set at $15,000.

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About Andy Hodges 2876 Articles
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies. In 2002, he permanently moved back to Sebastian, where Andy's family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.