A rabid anti-Trump West Goshen resident is accused of killing his neighbor and prominent GOP committeeman in the latest chapter of an ongoing feud that came to a boil late Monday night.
Police allege 51-year-old Clayton Carter III and GOP committeeman Brooks Jennings got into a dispute about video recording and cursing in the back yard around 8 p.m. Monday. PennLive reports Carter pulled a gun on Jennings during the argument but officers resolved the conflict.
But another dispute broke out around 1 a.m., when Carter alleges Jennings shined a light in his face while outside, prompting him to park his car on Jennings’ front lawn with his high beams aimed at the residence, WPVI reports.
Carter allegedly got out of the car, confronted Jennings with a .380 Ruger and the two argued before Carter shot him in the head. Jennings fell to the ground, and his wife looked out just in time to see Carter standing over her husband as he allegedly shot Jennings a second time in the head.
Carter remained outside and put his gun on a nearby car until police arrived. Officers located two shell casings – one in Jennings yard and another on Carter’s property – as well as the handgun and a knife Carter alleges Jennings was threatening him with, WPVI reports.
Carter, who had no injuries, did not call police or render aid to Jennings, police said, adding that the Tuesday murder marked at least the eight time officers responded to resolve disputes between the neighbors this year.
“Neighbors say Carter was a quarrelsome, argumentative man. Court records claim Carter had a history of disputes with multiple neighbors. His front yard was crowded with cars and hand lettered anti-Trump signs,” according to the news site.
“We steered clear of him,” neighbor Kathy Pratt said. “We were frightened because he’s so unpredictable.”
Another neighbor, Mary Beth Wallace, said she knew the alleged murder involved Carter when she heard about the incident.
“My heart sunk to my feet, because I knew something had happened,” she said. “I had seen that there was a shooting on Box Elder, and my heart just sunk to my feet. I knew all the way over here, I just suspected what I was going to find.”
The Daily Times detailed Carter’s long history of violent confrontations, including an episode that dated back to when he was a 23-year-old manager of a trailer park in Uwchlan.
In that incident, Carter rammed his Chevrolet truck into his in-laws’ house and manhandled his father-in-law. He received probation and was ordered to undergo counseling and a mental health evaluation after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and harassment, according to the news site.
Carter now faces a murder charge and is held without bail at the Chester County Prison as he awaits a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 24.
“This killing leaves a wife without a husband, a little boy without his father, and a community in shock and mourning,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan told WPVI.
“It is a sad situation when neighbors can’t put their differences aside for the sake of a peaceful community,” West Goshen Police Chief Joseph Gleason told the Daily Times. “Such a senseless circumstance which only results in tragedy for multiple families.”
Neighbor Brian Dougherty told WPVI the incident was especially tragic because Jennings was such a great guy.
“You don’t want to sound cliché, you see this on TV all the time, but he is really probably the nicest, best guy I’ve ever met in my whole life,” he said. “Really, seriously.”