Neighborhood Feud Turned Fatal: Deputies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego
    Robert Reed was shot to death by deputies.

    Mitch and DeeDee Cunnyngham lived on Olive Grove Place in Poway for nearly 20 years, and for the last decade, they were locked in a bitter dispute -- that was sometimes violent -- with their neighbor Robert Reed.

    Sheriff's deputies found the Cunnynghams dead in their home Sunday after officers shot and killed Reed at their door.

    Details Emerge After Fatal OIS

    [DGO] Details Emerge After Fatal OIS
    Three people were killed Sunday in Poway. (Published Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010)

    On Monday, mourning neighbors were leaving flowers in the Cunnynghams' memory.

    "Once you start, like, a war or something or a battle, you don't want to be the first one to give in," neighbor Ali Vega said. "It would always be something else, something different. Everything would be, you know, a problem to him."

    The Cunnyngham family was enjoying an Easter get-together when, witnesses told police, Reed opened fire on their house, killing the couple. Their son David escaped by jumping out of a window. His wife and their daughter survived by hiding in a room.

    Neighbors called 911 after the incident began. The first deputies to arrive confronted Reed, who allegedly threatened them with a shotgun. They fired, killing Reed.

    Court records reveal a history of disputes between the neighbors. Reed often complained about David Cunnyngham parking his car next to Reed's home. Two years ago, the dispute turned violent, with both men ending up in the hospital. Afterward, Reed was charged with three felonies, but prosecutors eventually dropped those charges.

    "There were concerns -- by more people in the neighborhood than just that family -- about this gentleman," said Lt. Dennis Brugos of the San Diego Sheriff's Department. "So, I guess, kind of an ongoing thing throughout the years with him."

    "I'm glad he's gone, but I'm really saddened that he had to take two really good people with him," Vega said. "They didn't do anything."

    The district attorney's office said they dropped the earlier charges against Reed because of "conflicting evidence." During the investigation of that case, they found a shotgun, a rifle and a revolver, along with four crossbows inside Reed's home.