“The Star-Spangled Banner” often rings out on Independence Day, but 65-year-old Ricky A. Thorne is accused of trying to take the lyrics regarding “bombs bursting in air” a little too seriously.
Thorne, a self-described firearms enthusiast, allegedly shot several bowling balls and pins from a cannon on July 4, 2015. His neighbor, in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, Lisa Kroll, has accused Thorne of launching one bowling ball into her barn, killing her 10-month-old horse.
"At least it was a horse not a human, but it was a very nice horse that got killed, very unfortunate," Kroll told KMSP. None of the projectiles were found near the horse, but Kroll claims she saw a lump on its head after she found it dead.
Thorne admitted to police that he shot 10 bowling balls and 10 pins out of the cannon, but apologized for it. “He admitted they had been shooting bowling balls out of a cannon but seemed surprised that any of them could have reached a neighbor’s property, much less impact a building,” according to the complaint.
Thorne has since been charged with one felony count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and misdemeanor negligent handling of a weapon, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
St. Croix County Attorney Eric Johnson said the case was highly unusual. “Been prosecuting 34 years, this is the first case we've had where someone was shooting bowling balls out of a cannon,” he told KMSP.
Kroll said she was concerned because she had guests sleeping in a camper trailer outside of her barn, “and opined a bowling ball dropping on them probably would have resulted in their death,” a deputy wrote in the complaint.
Kroll also said her horse was worth $10,000, and the damage to her barn would cost an estimated $4,000 to repair.