A 44-year-old man and a teenaged boy who lived across the street from one another on Herder Lane in Encinitas vented their mutual dislike by shouting insults and trading obscenities for years. Last summer, the hostilities escalated into gunfire. Details of the confrontation were revealed in a court hearing this week.
Sharon Herder said the street is named after her family, who once owned a large expanse of the area. She and her 44-year-old son, Stephen Clay Robinson II, lived together in the modest, one-story home at 732 Herder Lane, where she was born 65 years ago.
Herder said she was putting on her shoes to go outside on August 27, 2012, when she heard her son say, “He’s flashing the gun again.” Then Herder heard gunshots. She immediately dialed 911 and told the operator, “Yes, we’ve got some neighbors that are threatening our lives real bad.”
In the recorded 911 call, a voice identifying himself as Clay Robinson quickly took the phone and told the operator, “Yes, I just fired three or four rounds…because he did flash a gun. It’s a long story, Miss…my life’s been threatened enough.”
A SWAT team was deployed and a nearby school went into lockdown for about 30 minutes. A little after 11 a.m., Robinson quickly surrendered and was arrested.
Robinson told investigators that the 17-year-old boy across the street has shouted slander at him for years, calling him a “fag” and accusing him of being a pedophile. Robinson said the boy threatened him with a handgun from the upstairs balcony of the duplex where the boy lived with his mother, at 729 Herder Lane.
At least one witness testified that she saw a chrome-colored revolver in the boy’s hand while he stood on a balcony of the duplex that morning.
When officers first spoke with the boy, the teen did admit he might have held a gun on the balcony, but this week in court the boy denied it. The boy and his mother told investigators that after the shooting started, they rushed from an upstairs balcony into their home and hid behind a refrigerator; the boy also said he reached behind the fridge for a shotgun kept there for protection.
A shotgun and .357 handgun were found in the duplex, and a .357 revolver with four expended casings was taken from the Herder home.
Although both sets of neighbors said they had court protection against the other, sheriff’s detective John Buckley said during a court hearing on March 6, 2013, “I did not find any active restraining orders.”
Robinson is charged with attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and assault with a firearm. He is currently held in lieu of $3 million bail and is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior Court on March 20.