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Police: Fireworks upset man

he threatens neighbors with assault rifle

July 05, 2011|By Chad Damp (damp@wsbt.com)

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY — The Fourth of July is meant to be a day to celebrate the freedoms we have in our country. But a man was sent to jail, accused of abusing his Second Amendment rights and endangering a family trying to enjoy the holiday.

"In his yard if you go look you can see the bullet holes where he shot at myself and my son-in-law," said Cassondra Lowery from her yard on Ethel Avenue.

Lowery and about 30 of her friends and family were celebrating the holiday with fireworks. But the display wasn't entertaining everyone. Lowery says, her neighbor, Terry Tetzlaff came out of his home spraying a fire extinguisher at her and then went for the firework.

"At that point he then picked [the firework] up and threw it into the crowd of children," said Lowery.

Because it was still lit, the crowd scattered. She says Tetzlaff went back to his home, but immediately returned, armed with an assault rifle.

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"[Tetzlaff] began shooting eight to nine rounds into the air,” said Lowery. “At that point I stepped across the street and said hey we have children over here."

She says Tetzlaff then pointed the gun at her.

"He took 2 shots at me within 12-inches of my feet," said Lowery.

She says as she started to leave, Tetzlaff slapped her in the face. When police arrived, Tetzlaff was still holding the rifle, but police say he surrendered without incident.

"With a rifle of that caliber, it carries many rounds, he could have just sat there and sprayed all of us," said Lowery.

Tetzlaff is charged with criminal recklessness and intimidation, both Class-D felonies and battery, a Class A misdemeanor. He's being held at the St. Joseph County Jail with bond set at $10,000.

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