The Orient man arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with firing multiple rifle shots toward a work crew told the men he was going to blow their brains out, a construction worker present at the incident told The Suffolk Times.
The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said the crew was preparing to leave for the day when at about 4 p.m. they heard a loud crack coming from the property adjacent to the Stevenson Road job site. Minutes later, they saw neighbor Donald Lechtrecker leave his porch, headed in their direction.
“One of the other guys said, ‘He’s got a gun,’ ” the construction worker told a reporter Wednesday.
Mr. Lechtrecker, 65, fired multiple shots into the air and later in the direction of the workers using a Winchester 30/30 lever action rifle, Southold Town police said. Two construction vehicles were struck by bullets, but no one was injured, according to police.
“He told us he was going to blow our brains out,” the worker said. “I saw the muzzle drop and point in our direction, I just dropped and took cover behind the house.”
Police reported finding Mr. Lechtrecker lying in a grassy area approximately 100 feet from the job site. He was charged with felony reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon and could face additional charges based on a review of the case by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.
The workers are building a pool and pool house between Mr. Lechtrecker’s home and Long Island Sound, the construction worker said. He said he’d never seen Mr. Lechtrecker before Tuesday.
Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said Mr. Lechtrecker gave investigators “no clear indication” of why he fired the shots. Chief Flatley said Mr. Lechtrecker was incoherent and rambling when he spoke with police.
A neighbor said he has lived near Mr. Lechtrecker for nearly two decades.
“He’s always been a nice guy,” the neighbor said. “I guess this is just one of those things.”