Smith Road property dispute leads to assault

Published: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 11:22 AM.

An Apalachicola health care provider has been charged with aggravated assault after law enforcement officials say he drew a shotgun Thursday on a motorcyclist crossing his property.

According to the sheriff’s office’s probable cause affidavit, Sgt. Ronald Jones arrived at 300 Smith Road in Apalachicola about 6:30 p.m. to find Charles “Tom” Brocato walking towards his residence carrying a shotgun. Jones reported that “in the middle of the roadway, a motorcycle lying on its side with no one around it.”

Jones said Brocato put the shotgun under a shed on his property, and then told the officer that he had just been in an altercation with a motorcyclist, Joel Rapack, who he said had trespassed on his property.

Jones took custody of the shotgun, and then Brocato, who has a popular physical therapy business in Apalachicola, reviewed with him the configuration of his property, which he said includes a paved access road. “Recently there has been a dispute involving Mr. Brocato and Kristen Anderson over the road as to where the easement is located, but nothing has been settled in court,” Jones wrote.

Brocato said he was marking off his easement when Eric Springer drove down the road “and tried to run him over.” The two exchanged words, and Brocato said he told Springer “not to drive down his road again.”

Brocato said he went inside and retrieved his shotgun and ammunition, loaded the gun, and propped it beside his boat.

Jones wrote in his report that at that time, Joel Rapack was driving down Smith Road in a motorcycle headed to Anderson’s residence. In a sworn statement, Rapack said that as he approached Brocato’s residence, Brocato “stepped in front of Joel’s motorcycle, pointed the shotgun at Joel, and demanded him to stop.”

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