This article has been corrected from its original version. Please see details below.
Last night’s town meeting, meant to allay fears and settle nerves, did anything but. After brief remarks from both Sheriff Kring, via phone, and Deputy Young, the floor was opened to questions from the townspeople. Many understandably focused on the circumstances surrounding the death of Lennie Guttman on the night of July 17/18, and the Sheriff’s Department was just as understandably reluctant to release details. Besides confirming the scant details already available to the public, nothing else of substance was related concerning the crime scene or what occurred there.
Multiple attendees, including the Sheriff, offered touching accounts of their esteem for Lennie Guttman, but the mood changed quickly once Bear McHue, leader of the local Willow Cove Warlocks biking club, took to the microphone. Sheriff Kring took particular exception to McHue’s grisly curiosity, and after being rebuffed, Bear again prodded the frazzled nerves of those attended by loudly interjecting, “So you’re confirming it’s murder?” while Sheriff Kring answered another question. Bearing this along with Don Givens’ insensitive reaction to this interjection proved to be too much for Frank Kraft, Lennie Guttman’s lifelong best friend. He stood to confront Givens, but was quickly restrained.
The newly restored order only lasted so long, though. By the time Bruce Klugman, owner and president of Klugman Development, stood to speak, the powder keg had been lit. After what appeared to be heartfelt remarks about Lennie Guttman, Klugman shifted gears directly to the business implications of Guttman’s death, and the keg exploded.
Kraft lunged at Klugman and a scuffle ensued on the ground, as the two tumbled over. Attendees in the near vicinity scattered, while others inclined to such displays and just looking for an excuse, exacerbated the situation by enthusiastically joining the melee. As the innocent bystanders just looking for information scattered, chairs were overturned and punches were thrown. After a mercifully brief scuffle, order was restored. It was at this time that Deputy Young smartly called an end to the meeting and presided over an orderly exit of the school grounds. It was after everyone had exited that I was able to speak to both Deputy Young and Sheriff Kring.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the target of Kraft's lunge as Guttman. This was an obvious error and the story has been updated to reflect that Kraft lunged at Klugman, who was speaking at the time. We regret the error.