‘Sad story’: Neighbors struggle to comprehend Belmont woman’s death, son’s alleged retaliation

BELMONT, MASS. (WHDH) - Stunned neighbors are remembering a Belmont woman who was hit and killed by a tow truck in Watertown on Wednesday as a quiet but courteous person.

Benita Horner, 68, was crushed by the truck as she crossed a street near Watertown Square, according to a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s Office.

Her son, 38-year-old Philip Horner, retaliated for her death by attacking the driver and stabbing him at least five times, according to investigators.

“It’s a sad, sad story,” Vyrna Napoli told 7News. “She made soup one day for me. I wasn’t sick but she made soup and knocked on the door and brought it over to me.”

Napoli, a resident of an elderly housing complex in Belmont, lived across the hall from Horner. She says Phillip often visited his mother.

“He’d ask me if I ever needed help,” she said. “Sometimes he’d forget the key and he’d have to go through my place to get to the other door.”

Napoli says Phillip loved his mother very much but that she’s struggling to understand why he reacted in such a violent manner.

“Anger is a really funny thing,” she said. “You don’t know when anybody is going to snap.You really don’t.”

As Phillip awaits arraignment on a charge of armed assault with intent to murder, neighbors continue to cope with the fallout.

“When somebody dies from an accident it feels like they’ve been cheated out of some time they could have enjoyed,” neighbor Susan Silva said. “It’s sad.”

The victim of the stabbing, a 60-year-old man, remains hospitalized.

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