Two men arrested; accused of shooting and killing horse

It was a cruel and callous crime, a horse in Rio Verde was shot several times and left to suffer in pain through the night.

The horse survived the shooting, but it had to be put down because vets couldn't save it.

Now, two men are behind bars, and a community is breathing a sight of relief.

The couple that owns the horse say it was a 6-year-old quarter horse that they called Gringo.

They raised the horse and said he was worth $10,000.

The couple says the horse was shot in the face, neck, ribcage, and belly. They appeared this afternoon and gave a victim impact statement as the suspected shooters made their first appearance before a judge.

Gringo couldn't run or hide from his attackers. Investigators say the horse was inside his pen when he was shot a total of 4 times, but two different shooters and two different guns.

"It's just so hard to think that somebody could do something so horrible to an innocent animal," said Jamalie Holzer, Gringo's owner.

She said Gringo was with five other horses on their property when it was shot late Tuesday night.

The shooters left the horse to suffer through the night. Holzer discovered it dying when he went to feed the horses early Wednesday morning.

"I'll never forget when I saw him, he was in a dead sweat, and the way he looked back at me when I stepped out of the pickup for help, can't get it out of our head," said Ryan Holzer.

The horse was later euthanized. 

19-year-old Dylan Gundry and 20-year-old Bryce Fleming have been arrested in connection with the shooting. Fleming was staying with a relatives who lives next to the victims.

Gundry lives a few miles down the road, and allegedly confessed to the crime. 

The judge set his bond at $20,000 saying he was considered a danger to the community.

One of the suspects told investigators the pair went out with shotguns to shoot coyotes, and they went on the victim's property and stole some items. Then they came across the horse pen and for some unknown reason they decided to open fire on one of the horses.

"He had a great personality, very kind, but out of all the horses there he probably would've been the more skittish horse, and I don't know if that is how he got picked, for the thrill of it," said Ryan.

"To be so entitled to show up on someone's property, and rummage through some of our stuff, and shoot one of our horses. It's just, no words can explain the terror that it caused us," said Jamalie.

Several homeowners in the community also own horses; they say they have been living in fear for the past few days and are relieved to hear of the arrests.

"It's not going to bring our horse back, but it is peace of mind," she said.

Both suspects are now facing felony animal cruelty and burglar charges. Fleming is facing additional felony charges. 

Witnesses say he sold a shotgun and large caliber handgun that were used in the horse shooting, those guns were also stolen.

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