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Illinois man, 59, fatally shot by neighbor while using leaf blower in his own yard, officials say

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An Illinois man using a leaf blower in his own yard was fatally shot by his 79-year-old neighbor during an argument, authorities said, marking the latest incident in which people are gunned down while going about their everyday lives. 

William Martys, 59, was using a leaf blower in his yard at his Antioch home on April 12 when he was approached by his next-door neighbor, Ettore Lacchei. The two argued, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.

During the altercation, “Lacchei shot Martys in the head,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. 

An investigation into Martys’ death found that Lacchei “had various perceived grievances with Martys.”

Lake County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched Martys’ home in unincorporated Antioch, a village located about 60 miles north of Chicago and near the Wisconsin border, just after 7:30 p.m. that night on a report of “an unresponsive man on a driveway.”

Paramedics performed life-saving measures on him. Martys was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced deceased.  

An autopsy performed the following day found that Martys died from the gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

Detectives also recovered “the firearm likely used in the murder, which was located near Lacchei’s property line,” the sheriff’s office said.  

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office announced Lacchei has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder following a “comprehensive” two-week investigation.

A search warrant was conducted that same day and Lacchei was arrested without incident at his home. The Lake County State Attorney’s office said that during the search warrant “detectives also discovered Lacchei had sold his home and had plans to leave the country. “

Sheriff John D. Idleburg called Martys’ death a “senseless” murder.

“The members of our Criminal Investigations Division have been working around the clock to bring Mr. Martys’ murderer to justice, and I am happy Mr. Martys’ family can begin the closure and healing process,” he said.

Lacchei remains held in Lake County Jail. He was ordered to be held without bond on Wednesday. His next court date is set for May 25 at 9 a.m. It’s not immediately clear if he has retained a lawyer.

Martys’ death is the latest in a slew of alarming shootings in which seemingly innocent and harmless occurrences have culminated in horrific gun violence.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Black 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot twice and injured after ringing the wrong doorbell as he tried to pick up his younger brothers on April 13. In upstate New York, 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis was fatally shot by a homeowner on April 15 when the car she was in turned into the wrong driveway. 

Then, in Elgin, Texas, two cheerleaders were shot, one critically, after one of them mistakenly got into the wrong car on April 18.

In each case, arrests and charges were made, but the spate of gunfire has reignited debate on gun violence as well as self-defense laws.

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