Green Creek man arrested after horse shot and killed during altercation

Published 11:33 am Friday, July 7, 2023

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Prominent equestrian arrested on assault, animal cruelty charges

GREEN CREEK—On Wednesday, July 5, a Green Creek man was arrested on assault and animal cruelty charges.

John Victor Russell, 75, of Vick Russell Lane in Green Creek, was charged with assault on a person with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill and felony animal cruelty causing the death of an animal, according to Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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PCSO deputies were dispatched to an altercation involving gunfire, and upon arrival at the scene encountered several individuals on the property. They determined that a dispute had occurred between a father and son, resulting in the firing of a gun and the death of a horse that the son had been riding. 

Russell, a horse trainer and show jumper, is a prominent member of the local equestrian community.

A witness who asked to remain anonymous told the Bulletin that Russell and his son had been arguing, and Russell left and then returned in a pickup truck waving a gun before firing two shots. The horse that the son had been riding then collapsed due to a gunshot wound.

“Police cars were everywhere,” the witness said after the incident. “Clients, kids, people everywhere.”

Russell was taken before a magistrate and given a $90,000 secured bond. His next court date is scheduled on July 19.