Cops: 'Horseman of the Year' Shot a Horse

North Carolina man is charged after fatal shooting
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2023 2:09 PM CDT
'Horseman of the Year' Allegedly Shot a Horse
Stock image.   (Getty / Callipso)

Last month, 75-year-old John Russell of North Carolina was honored as "horseman of the year" for his dedication to the animals. This month, Russell faces felony charges after police say he fatally shot a horse, reports WYFF. It appears that Russell wasn't aiming at the horse, but that fact may only make things worse for him: Police say he tried to shoot his son, who was riding the horse, but missed. Thus, he is charged with a pair of felonies, per the Chronicle of the Horse—felony cruelty to animals, and assault on a person with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

"When deputies arrived, they found several people on the property and determined that a dispute happened between Russell and his son, resulting in gunfire and the death of a horse that the son had been riding," said a spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, per the Guardian. Russell is something of a "legendary horse trainer" in the Tryon area, according to WYFF, and the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall Of Fame anointed him horseman of the year in June. (More weird crimes stories.)

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