Filmmaker who rescued Romanian orphans is killed

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Associated Press

Posted on March 30, 2013 at 12:00 AM

ENCINITAS, Calif. (AP) — A documentary filmmaker known for helping rescue children from squalid Romanian orphanages in the early 1990s has been fatally shot.

Officials say the shooting followed an apparent dispute over the trimming of shrubbery outside his Southern California home.

John Charles Upton Jr., who was 56, was found dead Thursday on a dirt path in the yard of his Encinitas home. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department says detectives arrested 61-year-old Michael Vilkin on suspicion of murder. He's being held without bail, pending arraignment Tuesday.

Vilkin, in an interview conducted in county jail, told KGTV in San Diego he fired gunshots in self-defense after Upton menaced him with a gun during a dispute over foliage.

Vilkin said he owns vacant property next to Upton's home, and the two men had a disagreement over trimming shrubs.

A statement from the sheriff's department says a dispute between the two men led to the shooting, which is under investigation.

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