NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio -- Residents in one Ohio neighborhood say they believe stray bullets that struck a home and nearly hit a woman inside, were actually intended for a rooster that was crowing early in the morning.
Most homeowners in the 200 block of Fourth Street SW in New Philadelphia have grown accustomed to waking up each morning to the sound of the rooster crowing.
The colorful bird was abandoned by its owner three and a half years ago, according to WJW. Since then, it has been adopted as a mascot by animal lovers in the neighborhood.
“He’s like a pet, you know. He had nowhere to go, no one to feed him, so everybody followed suit," said longtime resident Carol Hensley.
But not everyone cares for the rooster and his early morning ritual.
“He gets up between four and five every morning, and starts crowing. The ones that work late at night, they don't like to be woke up at four o'clock by a crowing rooster."
Residents said early Wednesday morning, someone fired two gunshots at a tree in the front yard of a home where the bird normally roosts.
Police said the bullets passed through the exterior wall of the home behind the tree and came within a couple of inches of hitting a woman, who was visiting the homeowner.
“If she would have been sitting up in bed or walking in that room, it would have hit her. For somebody to take a chance to shoot a bird and risk spending the rest of their life in prison for killing somebody, is just one of the stupidest things I've ever heard in my life, over a bird,” said neighbor Tim Hensley.
Residents said this is not the first time that someone has been irritated by the rooster's crowing. He has escaped so many attempts to capture or silence him, that they have given him the nickname Houdini.
Neighbors said they are concerned because after the gunfire Houdini vanished.
“That rooster never did any harm to anybody, other than do what he's naturally supposed to do,” Carol Hensley said.
New Philadelphia police are now trying to identify the gunman.