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Refused a smooch, deputies say 92-year-old woman fires gun

By Colleen Jenkins

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (Reuters) - Helen Staudinger, 92, wanted a kiss.

But authorities say after her 53-year-old neighbor refused, the central Florida woman aimed a semi-automatic pistol at his house and fired four times.

"If my head would have been over just a little bit further, (a bullet) probably would have hit me in the back of the head," the neighbor, Dwight Bettner, told Reuters.

Staudinger remained in jail on Tuesday, a day after being arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shooting into a dwelling. Her next court date is April 26.

The case of the kiss that wasn't occurred in Fort McCoy, Florida, about 20 miles northeast of Ocala.

Bettner, a former law enforcement officer and boilermaker, said his elderly neighbor has seemed attracted to him since he moved in six months ago. He's not sure why.

"I've taken her trash out for her, just neighborly stuff," Bettner said. "I guess she just took that as something else."

He told Marion County Sheriff's deputies that Staudinger threatened to shoot him recently when he told her he had a girlfriend but didn't follow through.

Just after noon on Monday, Bettner argued with Staudinger when she came to his house and refused to leave, according to an incident report.

"I want a kiss before I leave," Bettner said Staudinger told him.

No, he said.

"Just go back to your property, and leave me alone," Bettner recalled saying.

Bettner was on the phone with his father when he heard gunshots moments later. One bullet went through a window, spraying him with glass.

Staudinger told deputies that she fired at Bettner's new Mitsubishi 3000GT, a car "that he loved so much," the incident report said.

Bettner said on Tuesday that he would probably move out of his rented home.

"I just don't need the stress or the hassle," he said. "I thought this only happened to younger people."

(Editing by Jerry Norton)

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