Police have arrested a 22-year-old man in Pennsylvania over the fatal November shooting of a horse pulling an Amish buggy carrying a family of five.
The wounded horse continued for about a mile to a Pennsylvania farm before the occupants of the buggy noticed the animal bleeding from its mouth, with a gunshot wound to its chest.
The animal died before a veterinarian arrived.
The arrested man is Timothy Antonio Diggs Jr, from Ronks, who faces seven misdemeanor counts. They comprise five counts of reckless endangerment – one for each occupant of the buggy – animal cruelty, and firing into an occupied vehicle.
The charges were laid by the East Lampeter Township Police Department, which investigated the Lancaster County shooting.
The shooting occurred in Ronks, in the southeastern area of the county, as the the horse and buggy were heading north in the 100 block of North Ronks Road on November 24 around 9pm.
The buggy occupants, comprising a married couple and their three children, heard what sounded like a firecracker from a vehicle that passed them, also heading north.
The horse spooked and bolted, but the driver managed to regain control.
They arrived at their destination about a mile away and discovered their horse was injured and bleeding. They told police they had believed the noise they heard was a firecracker, and did not realize their horse had been injured.
“Sometimes people throw firecrackers at buggies,” police Lieutenant Robin Weaver said at the time. “That’s what they thought had happened.”
Police launched a probe and a necropsy was performed on the horse at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Penny Habecker confirmed the horse died from a gunshot wound to the left side of the chest.
The police had hoped to recover the bullet from the horse so investigators could obtain ballistics evidence, but have not revealed whether this was achieved during the necropsy.
Diggs has been in custody in Lancaster County Prison since police executed a search warrant at his home on December 2. Police are reported to have seized stolen firearms as well as a stolen motorcycle, from separate burglaries in East Lampeter Township and Upper Leacock Township. Police have not disclosed whether one was confirmed as the weapon used in the shooting.
Diggs was arrested in relation to the horse shooting on Wednesday, Lieutenant Weaver said.