ANDERSON — Kris Ockomon said a witness has come forward to identify a teenager accused of shooting a squirrel through the head with a dart at Shadyside Memorial Park.
Ockomon, senior humane officer for the Anderson Police Department, and law enforcement officers arrested the 14-year-old at his home on Tuesday.
Prior to the arrest, Ockomon met with Maleah Stringer, director of the Animal Protection League, and Joe Julian, a conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
“I guess I don’t understand why anybody thinks it’s fun or sport to torture living creatures,” Stringer said. “Personally, I don’t understand the thrill, the bang. It’s particularly concerning to me that it’s a 14-year-old walking around a public park shooting things and letting them suffer.”
Last week two men walking around the trails at Shadyside noticed a large dart hanging out of each side of a squirrel’s head at the park. They video recorded the squirrel eating beneath trees in the park just north of Bobber’s Café and sent the video to The Herald Bulletin.
“According to my caller, this is a regular habit for him,” Ockomon said about the teen. “He goes out there and does it for fun.”
Ockomon said the teen read the article in the newspaper and told his friend he was going to get caught. The Herald Bulletin is not releasing the suspect’s name because he is not being charged as an adult.
“He has no criminal history,” said Ockomon.
He said the witness has evidence of other possible crimes involving the youth and additional charges may be forthcoming.
Julian said hunting in a public park is illegal and so is torturing an animal with a vertebrae.
Ockomon said they will continue to search for the injured squirrel.
“We want to get it and get it to a vet,” said Ockomon.
He also wants people to know that they need to report incidents like the one involving the squirrel.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re 14 or 44 or whatever, we are going to take it very seriously,” Ockomon said.