MACOMB TWP., Mich (WJBK) - A man out raking leaves at his Macomb Township home last week was nearly killed in his yard by a drunk neighbor, according to his family. The man's girlfriend came to his rescue with her gun, but the damage was already done.
Steve Miller's family says he was out doing the yardwork when his neighbor, Jerry Ficht, came over and accused Steve of blowing leaves onto his lawn. That's when Steve's longtime girlfriend, Bonnie LaRose, says she saw Ficht start attacking.
"He came across the left with a suckerpunch and hit him," Bonnie says.
"As soon as he struck him in the head he started going down, and the neighbor got on top of him and started hitting him in the head," says Bonnie's daughter, Jodie.
Bonnie, a CPL holder, yelled and grabbed her gun and ran outside.
"My boyfriend was bleeding profusely out of the ear. I'm medical, so I know he was probably bleeding from the brain. I straddled my boyfriend and pointed the gun at Jerry, told him to back off," Bonnie says.
She says Ficht was yelling and screaming at her.
"I tried to tell him that I have a gun and I will shoot him," she says. She warned him three times before he went back inside.
An ambulance was called and Steve was rushed to the hospital with a skull fracture and an arterial bleed. He went through four hours of surgery and now has weeks of rehab ahead of him.
Bonnie was so stressed out, she had a heart attack the next day. She's going to be okay, though, but everybody is worried about Steve.
"He's that nice guy that just never deserved this," says Jodie.
Making matters worse, 54-year-old Steve was hit by a drunk driver two decades ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury then. Both sides of his brain have been damaged by guys who had too much to drink and not enough sense to stop.
"We're going to fight people over leaves now? And put them in the hospital? I mean, he's changed his whole life now. He'll never be able to work again," says Jody. "So, he's destroyed his life. Over leaves."
The Macomb County Sheriff's Department tell us Ficht is being held at the county jail, charged with assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.
If you would like to make a donation to Steve's recovery fund, the family has set up a GoFundMe account. You can make a donation here.