‘Crazy how it happened:’ Man accused of attempting to kill neighbor with machete over break-in

Delbert Charging Crow

MILWAUKEE -- A 64-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of using a machete to maim a man who allegedly accused his son of trying to break into car -- allegedly luring his neighbor into a garage with drugs. The accused is Delbert Charging Crow -- and he faces one count of attempted first degree intentional homicide.

According to the criminal complaint, officers were called to an apartment complex near 54th and Forest Home on Thursday evening, Nov. 1 -- and "observed blood in the hallway and rear porch of the apartment complex." The victim in this case had already been taken to Froedtert Hospital.

When officers spoke with the victim at the hospital, he indicated Charging Crow, a man known for his work as a carving artist who often worked out of his garage, to come to that garage to look at his vehicle. When the victim got into the garage, he told police Charging Crow struck him on the side of the jaw with something sharp. The victim told police Charging Crow then said, "I told you my son did not break into your cars." The victim then ran from the garage.

Delbert Charging Crow

"I wasn't expecting to hear that when I got told that the next morning -- just that he had a conflict with the guy behind, and that it was violent. I knew the cops were here. There was a lot of cops here, but I didn't know what was going on. Crazy how it happened," said Kelly Ferguson, neighbor.

The victim told police a couple of nights prior to this incident, his girlfriend's car was broken into -- and he "observed Charging Crow's son going up to a vehicle and looking inside." At that point, the victim in this case apparently confronted Charging Crow's son about breaking into cars.

The complaint indicates investigators interviewed Charging Crow who stated "his neighbor, who he called the 'drug dealer' got his car broken into a couple nights ago and was blaming Charging Crow's family for the incident." Charging Crow told police the victim "pulled a gun on his son and accused him of breaking into cars," and later texted him: "Next time you approach my car I will shoot you." This apparently upset Charging Crow.

At 10 p.m. on Nov. 1, the complaint indicates Charging Crow "sent a text message to (the victim) offering to buy $200 worth of crack cocaine." He told police he knew the victim would come to him if he was going to buy drugs. According to the complaint, "Charging Crow said that he had the machete in his hand and asked (the victim) to enter the garage to make the 'drug exchange.'" At that point, the complaint says Charging Crow "raised his right arm holding the machete and with full force attempted to cut (the victim's) head off." Charging Crow told police his "intentions were to kill (the victim)."

The victim suffered a three-inch laceration to his jaw.

A member of Charging Crow's tribe said this was in self-defense, because of the neighbor's threat. A person close to Charging Crow said he was just protecting his son, and "if Charging Crow wanted to kill him, he would have killed him."

"It was unexpected -- something you wouldn't think from him at all, from his character," said Ferguson.

Charging Crow made his initial appearance in court on Nov. 3. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 12. Cash bond was set at $200,000.

If convicted of the charge, Charging Crow faces up to 60 years in prison.