Investigators: Family’s Horse Intentionally Shot, Killed

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) — Every day, for 14 years, Evelyn Halvorson would walk back here and visit with Thunder, an Arabian gelding who was the oldest horse on the Halvorson’s farm near River Falls, WI.

However, 10 days ago, Thunder wasn’t standing with the others. And when Halvorson took a closer look at him, she saw why.

“We seen, you konw, just a slight hole right in his forehead. And we looked further and you could see it was a rifle. He had been shot between the eyes,” said Halvorson.

Thunder died from a single bullet wound to his head. Investigators believe it was done intentionally, but neither Halvorson nor authorities have any leads.

The news has been especially hard on her son Taryl, who grew up with Thunder and is currently in the army.

“They just loved each other. I mean, when Taryl comes home from the army, the first thing, he comes up the driveway and he hollers, ‘Thunder!’ And wherever the horse was his head was up and he runs right to the fence,” said Halvorson.

Halvorson is now offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information as to what happened to Thunder. She says the reward is as much about protecting her horses, as her family.

“This is my backyard. You know, my grandchildren slide down the hills and play with the horses, the poultry and the dogs right here. And if somebody is shooting into my yard where my kids are, that’s what I really want, you know, why I really want to find out what happened,” said Halvorson.

Halvorson said you can’t see her horses from the main road, so the shooter had to know they were there. She also believes the shooter used a scope because of where Thunder was shot.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

More from John Lauritsen
  • Janice

    How very sad that someone would shoot a beautiful animal like a horse for no reason at all. Deer & other animals are killed for meat. Fur bearers are hunted for their valuable hides. This poor horse was someone’s beloved companion, and it was a thougtless and cruel act on some moron’s part. He should be punished to the max, but that won’t bring Thunder back. Maybe jail time PLUS community service working FREE at a stable so he can come to know what a special animal a horse is. You notice I said HE. I can’t imagine any woman doing something like shooting a horse.

    • Joker of Spades

      This is a tragic story and I feel bad for the family. However, what’s with playing the sex card? What happened to equality? It sounds to me like this was a personal attack on the family. A woman is just as capable as being vengeful as a man. When they catch the PERSON that did this, they will be severely punished because it seems the laws for attacks on animals are greater than attacks on fellow humans. I don’t understand that, but that is the way it seems. But, everyone here can thank Janice for setting the woman’s movement back 20 years with ignorant comments.

    • Sami

      I have had something just like this happen to my family just the last past year but it was with my pigs and i live in river falls wi and i am only like 2 miles away from where she lives

  • Ben Bets

    a dude the perp also.
    Sick pucs can’t waste enough people they have to now start to prey on harmless animals. Unreal – charge them if caught with murder the same as doing it to a human. Actually – maybe double that time. Most animals are better class than many people today.
    Sad story — find ’em and hang ’em

  • Sue

    How very sad. People who kill animals should have the highest punishment possible. It is very scary if someone is just out there shooting randomly. I personally wouldn’t want a person like this doing community service for animals – I would not trust them.

  • Julie

    I am so upset by this that I am MAD!! I cant believe the inhumane things that are dine to animals..!! I cant call the THING that did this a person!! I am a horse owner my self and I cant imagine the loss you are felling right now! So sorry.. Hugs!!

  • Linda


  • Z

    Horse the other dark meat yum!

  • Youth sports roundup : new horse

    […] Investigators: Family’s Horse Intentionally Shot, Killed Every day, for 14 years, Evelyn Halvorson would walk back here and visit with Thunder, an Arabian gelding who was the oldest horse on the Halvorson’s farm near River Falls, WI. Read more on CBS Minnesota […]

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