Same issue, first time I didn't notice I could back away.
First time: I was too busy looking at the zombies and trying to click the wrench while avoiding clicking the zombie as it wiggled it's head over the point I was trying to click... I clicked zombie instead of wrench, punched it and died.
Second time, noticed the message a bit too late and died again.
3rd onwards. Walked right up to the wrench, clicked it, looked at it... OOOW WRENCH! died.
Eventually told the zombies and the long cut scene you have to sit through per death to go fornicate with it's self and looked up if others had similar issues.
The fact you need to press 2 or scroll is probably the ONLY time in the game thus far that a multi interactable object has it's opens layed out around the cursor rather than decending from it in a list. Very unintuative.
I'm not even sure why you decided to give players the option to look at the wrench, it's a death sentence every time you click on it and it's NEVER been what I wanted to do with it, I'm sure that goes for every other player that has or will play the game.
P.S. Awesome game in general, but there are a few too many little things like this that suck the enjoyment out of the gaming session, I do hope 4 and 5 go a bit smoother and challenge the player rather than just frustrate/change the rules.
At least I've got coffee and Chapter 4 still to go!
Now to go wrench some zombies...