Fear Thy Neighbor is in Harlem, New York City, to investigate the tragic murder of Hampton “Smithy” Smith and his girlfriend, Yvette Rivera, who were both killed following an argument with their bad-tempered downstairs neighbor, Bruce Anderson.
Anderson had spent years arguing about noise with 78-year-old Smith and 62-year-old Rivera, who lived directly above his apartment. The slightest sound would have him banging on their door until they eventually started ignoring him, but not before both men had contacted the police in their ongoing feud.
One day, in the middle of a Friday afternoon, in October 2019, 59-year-old Anderson clearly lost his temper. He grabbed a firearm and went upstairs, where he shot dead Smith and Rivera. He then went back to his apartment and locked the door.
When the NYPD turned up and demanded he open his apartment door, Anderson shouted: “Come and get it.” While the cops waited for backup, they began to smell smoke. The killer had set fire to his apartment.
The cops finally broke into the apartment, and in the bathroom, they found Anderson. He had turned the gun on himself and was dead from a single shot to the head.
Neighbors called Bruce Anderson a ‘grumpy man’
When the investigators spoke to the building’s super, they learned that Anderson was a man who had complained constantly about his neighbors. Superintendent Edgar Palacios said the only time he ever talked to anybody was to complain. He said: “That grumpy man, he hardly talked to nobody. He complained about every little thing.”
The other neighbors all knew Anderson had continuously complained to Smith and Rivera. Still, they seemed to universally agree that the would-be-killer had zero grounds to complain as the couple never made any noise.
Residents of the building said Anderson would bang on his victims’ door just because they were walking around their apartment. They also said Smith and Rivera were a very “sweet” couple. Some of Anderson’s neighbors expressed surprise that he hadn’t just moved away.
More from Fear Thy Neighbor
Follow the links to read about more neighborly feuds that ended in murder.
Giancarlo John Banova and James Stapleton had been embroiled in a feud for years on their quiet Las Vegas street. However, one day the argument boiled over into a shootout that left Stapleton injured and Banova dead.
In a similar case, Jeffrey Weigle and Dean Keller from Greenwood, Indiana, had been arguing and fighting for nearly a decade when, one day, in 2017, they pulled out their handguns and had a shootout over the fence in the yard. Weigle was hit four times in the chest, and Keller escaped injury. The police concluded Weigle was a fault for the gunfight.
Fear Thy Neighbor airs at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.