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Zebra shot and killed

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CHERYL WILLIAMS
The Ellis County Press
ROCKETT - An 18-year-old Red Oak man has been accused in the fatal drive-by shooting of a zebra named Zambi.

On Thursday, July 5 at approximately 12:40 p.m. in the afternoon, a zebra was shot on the farm about a quarter mile before Rockett known as HiView Farms.

Owners of this farm, Lorne and Pat McMillan, have called HiView Farms home for 20 years.

'Nothing like this has happened in about twenty years, a horse was shot on the farm at that time, since then it has been smooth,' said Lorne McMillan.

'People stop to look and enjoy the animals all the time and we encourage them to stop and enjoy them.

'We hate to be enjoying them all by ourselves, we welcome it.'

Lorne and Pat were looking for land and initially purchased six acres from a couple going through a divorce.

Later they purchased six additional acres and the last 15 acres were purchased when they became available.

The farm now has about twelvedeer, horses, donkeys,
zebras, camels, llamas, Lemurs, Welsh Corgi dogs from Wales, various exotic birds and a few ducks and a swan swim in a pond on the property.

Lorne was on the phone talking with his wife Pat who was at work at the time, when they both heard a loud bang.

Lorne and one of his farm workers went out to discover the zebra, Zambi, had been shot and it appeared to be in the chest.

'Looking at the tracks, there was no thrashing around, the bullet just dropped him, one shot,' said McMillan.

According to the Ellis County Sheriff Department the firing was from the road, at least 100 yards out.

Joshua Romano was arrested Friday at his home and faces a charge of cruelty to animals.

It was reported by the Ellis County Sheriff's office, on the day of the shooting, Romano and four friends had gone swimming in a creek near the farm but had to leave because of rain.

As they drove on Farrar Road, witnesses told authorities Romano pulled out a deer rifle and shot the zebra.

'The vehicle never stopped,' said Lt. Kevin Ketchum of the sheriff's office.

'We've had Zambi anywhere from eight to ten years, he was our male breeder,' said McMillan.

'He was a valuable animal, but even more than the money value this was such an evil, mean thing to do. I would hate to think what would have happened if Lorne had been walking around out there, he could have been shot,' adds McMillan.

The bullet was recovered from Zambi's body and it was determined it was from a 30-caliber rifle.

The McMillans had been offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible for this senseless crime.

There had been several people who have donated money to help with this reward amount.

According to Channel 8 they have received calls from viewers who desire to buy the McMillan's another zebra.

'We have received cards from people all over, a lady Carolyn made a wreath with little zebras on in, which says ‘In Loving Memory of Zambi,' the support has been great,' said McMillan.

McMillan said, 'I don't want him to go to jail, he should be sent over to Baghdad since he is a good shot.'

Ketchum was reported as saying the first lead in the case came through a tip from a person who did not want to be identified and had turned down the reward.

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