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.