Sad news out of East Lampeter Township in Pennsylvania: A horse pulling an Amish buggy was killed Monday night in a drive-by shooting.

The shots were fired from a vehicle that drove past the buggy, which was carrying a family, including three children. The family told police they heard "a loud noise" that sounded "something like a firecracker."

"Sometimes people throw firecrackers at buggies," said East Lampeter Township Police Lt. Robin Weaver told Lancaster Online. "That's what they thought had happened."

When the family arrived at their farm roughly a mile away, they noticed their horse was bleeding from its mouth; upon closer inspection, they found a bullet hole in the animal's chest. The horse died before a veterinarian could arrive.

If they're caught, the gunman could face weapons charges, reckless endangerment charges, or even hate crime charges.

"In 30 years, I've never seen anything like this," Lt. Weaver said.

[Image via Flickr]