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Man Attacks Neighbor With Chainsaw In Washington Heights

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Blood stains the SUV and driveway where a man attacked a longtime friend and neighbor with a chainsaw. (Credit: CBS)

Blood stains the SUV and driveway where a man attacked a longtime friend and neighbor with a chainsaw. (Credit: CBS)

Updated 08/21/13 – 10:45 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – A man attacked a neighbor with a chainsaw during a dispute in the Washington Heights neighborhood early Wednesday.

CBS 2′s Susanna Song reports the two men – who have been neighbors for about 30 years – were arguing around 1 a.m. near 103rd and Carpenter streets.

Preston Smith, 55, was drinking in the back yard with his friend. Something happened, or something was said that quickly turned the conversation sour.

“They were supposed to be best of friends,” said Preston’s mother, Mildred Smith. “I can’t fathom what has happened.”

Mildred said her son and his friend argued, and Preston got into his vehicle to leave, but his friend didn’t back down.

“He said the next thing he knew, he came out of his back yard with the chainsaw,” she said. “He was sitting in his car with window down, and he started attacking him.”

Mildred said her son stepped out of the car to reason with his friend.

“That’s when he started slashing at him, and he threw up his hands,” she said. “The left hand is wrapped, all the way down to the very tip of his fingers.”

The fingers on Preston’s left hand were badly cut, but not completely severed. The father of two was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday afternoon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Mildred said she doesn’t hate her son’s friend for what he did.

“I think it just got out of hand … where alcohol, or drugs, or whatever’s involved; it’s not your mind anymore,” she said.

Preston’s friend, who also is 55 years old, was gone by the time police arrived.

Police said the victim hasn’t been able to tell them why he and his neighbor were fighting.

Investigators obviously know who they are looking for, but had not been able to locate him as of late Wednesday morning.