8:36 AM PT -- 11/16 -- Columbus Short tells TMZ ... "I spoke to the family and apologized to them in their garage after the story ran. My apology was not an admission of guilt but rather, an if I did anything to offend you, I apologize. The family and I shook hands, and they accepted my apology. There have been no issues since."
Columbus Short's neighbor says the actor's got it out for him so bad, he's had to go to court to get protection ... and a judge is giving it to him.
According to legal docs, obtained by TMZ, the neighbor says Columbus got in his face last weekend ... allegedly referring to himself as a "killer" while threatening to beat up the man, whose child was with him at the time. It's not clear what sparked the alleged altercation.
The man claims Columbus grabbed his wrist and tried to follow him into his home -- and a similar altercation went down 2 days after that.
That was enough for a judge to grant a temporary restraining order barring Columbus from coming within 15 yards of the neighbor, his spouse and his daughter.
We've reached out to Columbus for comment ... so far, no word back.
As we reported, Columbus was arrested back in February after cops were called to his home over an argument he had with his wife that allegedly got physical. He was charged with 2 misdemeanors, but those charges were later dismissed.
Columbus told us, "They dismissed the case from what I was told because the prosecutor felt there was no wrongdoing."
With this new case on his hands, we'll see how the neighbor drama plays out for Columbus.