Teen accused of shooting horses, killing one


CRYSTAL FALLS — A Crystal Falls teen reportedly told police he shot and killed a draft horse Feb. 24 while “playing ‘American Sniper,'” then shot and injured a second horse March 16 because it “laughed” at him and “draft horses are supposed to be in pairs.”

Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell cited these allegations and more in arguing a higher bond for 19-year-old Luke Endjamin Wool at his arraignment Monday in Iron County Trial Court.

Chuck Battan, who owns the horses with his wife, Lisa, and son, Jeff, told The Daily News this morning the injured horse is in surgery today at a veterinary clinic in Oconomowoc, Wis., to remove a bullet from its hindquarters. Battan, who lives on U.S. 2 just west of Bewabic State Park in Crystal Falls Township, has owned horses for 42 years, and this is the first time they haven’t had a horse on the property, he said.

Wool faces charges of discharge a firearm in or at a building, a 10-year felony, and two counts of killing or torturing animals, a four-year felony. He will return to court for a probable cause conference April 3 and a preliminary examination April 10.

Based on Wool’s statements he doesn’t work, has no assets and lives rent-free with his pastor, Judge Christopher Ninomiya appointed attorney Michael Scholke as his legal counsel.

Although Wool already was in custody Monday on a $5,000 cash bond, Ninomiya granted Powell’s request to double the amount to $10,000.

Wool listened in on a conversation between the pastor and his wife to figure out how to get into their gun safe, Powell told the court.

While the two were out of town, Wool reportedly took five guns and ammunition, she said.

Iron County deputies were called March 16 to Crystal Falls Township on a complaint of shots fired at a horse and a nearby occupied home, according to the department’s initial press release.

One bullet went through the horse’s neck and another remains embedded in its hindquarters, Powell said.

Wool reportedly told deputies he shot only at the horse, not any homes, but Powell argued the bullet trajectories don’t support that story and that area contained three to four houses.

Investigation from the March 16 incident led authorities to tie Wool to another horse found dead Feb. 24 after breaking its leg, which severed a main artery.

Battan used the 2,500-pound male horses for horse-pulling competitions and some farm work. They finished second among 17 teams at a recent Dickinson County Fair competition, Battan said.

Powell also told the judge three-fourths of the pastor’s ammunition was gone, which she believed indicated Wool had done a lot of shooting while the pastor was away.