Robert Van Den Bosch had been making threats to shoot someone because residents in his neighborhood were being loud.
Van Den Bosch testified that he’d reached a boiling point on the evening of Sept. 1, 2017. So when Morris Parker drug his trash can to the dumpster, Van Den Bosch followed and shot him in the chest within inches of his heart.
Jurors convicted Van Den Bosch Nov. 8 of attempted second-degree murder with discharge of a firearm and great bodily harm and resisting officers without violence. He is facing 25 years to life in prison and will be sentenced Dec. 20.
Assistant State Attorney Jaenea Gorman told jurors that Van Den Bosch began threatening to harm his neighbors the morning of Sept. 1, when he called 911 while yelling, “I should shoot you,” at a neighbor he claimed was trespassing.
Later that evening, Van Den Bosch posted to his Facebook profile, complaining that someone walked by his house “…for the hundredth time. Do I really have to shoot someone?” He also taped angry messages to the windows of his trailer.
About 10:45 p.m., Parker drug his trash can over to the dumpster, which was on the opposite side of Van Den Bosch’s trailer. While Parker was dumping out his trash, Van Den Bosch approached him.
“Can you hold that open for me?” Van Den Bosch asked, swinging a fist at Parker and missing.
He then pulled out a gun he had been concealing and shot Parker in the left side of his chest.
Van Den Bosch immediately returned to his trailer and fired another shot into the ground before going inside.
A witness, who worked at Citgo across the street, saw the incident and immediately called 911.
When officers arrived, Van Den Bosch refused to exit his trailer. After a six-hour standoff, the Lakeland Police Department’s SWAT team placed a chemical irritant into the trailer, forcing Van Den Bosch to exit.
As he was being booked in, Van Den Bosch told officers he used his second amendment right to protect his first amendment right. He said his neighbors were too loud, and he could not finish writing a book he was working on.
Van Den Bosch testified at trial, claiming he pulled out the gun during an argument with the victim, and it accidentally went off when the victim grabbed it. But testimony from the witness at Citgo refuted that, as she never heard or saw any scuffle between the two prior to the gunshot.
The defendant then admitted to jurors that “things had reached a boiling point.”
Van Den Bosch also testified that he never called 911 and that he put earplugs in when the police arrived at his trailer and told him to come out.
In closing arguments, the defense attorney claimed Van Den Bosch responded in self-defense.
But Gorman reminded the jury there was no testimony or evidence of a struggle.
“This is someone who was angry and irritated at all the residents,” she said. “When the trash can was drug across the ground, things got to be too much for him. He just snapped.”
“He was threatening to shoot someone and finally made good on that threat,” Gorman said.