John Krick got a phone call Sunday morning from a neighbor who said Firecracker, one of Krick's horses, had run through the field and smacked into a tree.

Krick went to help his injured horse and cut him out of the brambles. The Fawn Township owner called relatives to help lift the horse back on his feet.

But shortly after the relatives arrived, Firecracker died. At that point, they didn't know why.

Perhaps the horse had contracted rabies or eaten some bad grain that made it go blind, the family speculated.

Then, Krick found spots of blood. One area about 12 feet to 15 feet in diameter was covered in it. He called state police.

The family had noticed Firecracker's left eye was messed up, but they figured the horse scratched it when he ran into the tree and collapsed in the brush.

A trooper told the family the horse had been shot in the eye.

State police are still looking for information about the shooting, Lt. Barry Staub said. A reward of $100 is being offered.

That reward may grow as more people are pledging donations, Krick said. He has set up a bank account for the reward.

What bothers Krick the most is that Firecracker likely suffered for hours. The shooting happened between 11 p.m. Saturday night and 9 a.m. Sunday, police said.

The horse lay down and thrashed around in the pasture, Krick said.

"It wasn't like he was shot and dropped over dead," he said. "You know he was in pain."

Krick also said he doesn't understand why someone would do this, and he's worried about his other four horses.


He won't allow them in the pasture where Firecracker was shot. He even moved a pregnant horse to another location.

"Is this a one-time random act?" he asked. "Are they coming back?"

Krick bought Firecracker three years ago in Lancaster County for less than a couple hundred dollars. He knows that cheaper horses sometimes go to killer pens.

The 6-year-old Palomino gelding was in the prime of his life.

Even the family dog, Daisy, has been moping around since Firecracker disappeared, Krick said. The horse and the dog used to chase each other.

"He'll be missed," Krick said.


An account has been established at M&T Bank for anyone who wants to donate money for a reward to find the person who killed Firecracker.

Checks should be made out to John Krick FBO Firecracker Reward Fund.

Donations can be dropped off at any branch, or they can be mailed to the Fawn Grove branch at P.O. Box 215, Fawn Grove 17321.

If the case remains unsolved, Krick will return the money if donors wish. You will need to include a name and phone number on your check.

Otherwise, donations will go to Olivia's House, a grief and loss center for children, or Another Chance 4 Horses in Bernville.