BUENOS AIRES —They lived in the same building in the Argentine capital — two couples, one on the ground floor and the other above them.
Their dispute began 10 years ago, when the two women began bickering constantly. They argued over who would sweep the patio, their barking dogs — they both had poodles, one black, the other white — over noise, parking, anything and everything.
Other neighbors expressed disbelief at the fatal outcome of their increasingly acrimonious relationship, which ended in tragedy July 15. The poodles began to fight, which provoked an argument that led the downstairs neighbor, 64-year-old doctor Óscar Hernández, to go upstairs, in his pyjamas, carrying a handgun.
He fatally shot his neighbor Sergio, 47, in the chest. Hernández then went in search of the wife, though she wound up survivng his attempt to shoot her. The father of two children, had run a newspaper stand for 20 years, working 14 hours a day.
The incessant squabbling had begun practically as soon as the victim and his family moved to the home in this middle-class Buenos Aires district a decade before. Neighbors described the doctor’s household as “bad people,” as he was often armed and sometimes threatened kids leaving a local school.
Hernández’s family had three cars, taking up all the parking space outside the building and leaving none for neighbors. The smell of gas was once so pronounced that Sergio's family asked the doctor to fix it. The request went unmet. After the murder, Sergio’s widow Laura left and moved in with her parents, returning to the house only under police protection to retrieve her clothes.
On a visit to the home, Clarín found the doctor’s wife chatting merrily to relatives that had come to visit. When approached, she glanced scornfully: “We don’t talk to journalists.”