By Justin Burrows - email
BLOOMINGDALE, GA (WTOC) - A Bloomingdale community is grieving the loss of a neighborhood pet deer named Bambi.
"The deer was standing right beside those trees right there and they pulled up here and they shot her from out here on the street," says Larry Carter, as he points across the street from his home.
Carter is trying to understand why anyone would shoot Bambi, a deer his family raised and his community has come to love.
Two years ago, the Carter family discovered Bambi while on a fishing trip. Her mother had been killed by a car.
"Her umbilical cord was still on her and we knew she was dying, so we picked her up and she was just born and we brought her home. We fed her and kept her in a tiny cabinet. She was just legs," recalled Joan Carter as she fought back the tears.
The Carter's tried to give Bambi away to different animal reserves but found no takers.
She grew up free to come and go, but chose to stay close to the Carters, becoming a part of their family and warming the hearts of this Bloomingdale community.
"She was so sweet," said neighbor Martha Moore. "It breaks my heart that anyone would do such a thing to that precious animal."
Moore lives across the street from the Carters. She says she will miss Bambi's regular visits to eat the red flowers that she used to plant for her.
"I don't know what we will do without her," cried Moore.
The Bloomingdale Police Department says they have a suspect and plan to charge him with two misdemeanors of firing a gun on someone else's property and firing a gun near a public highway.
"My main concern is the fact that they put people's lives in danger," said Bloomingdale Police chief Thomas Gossett. "Obviously I'm concerned about the deer and the fact that it was a pet, as well as the family's concerns, but my biggest concern is protecting the citizens."
Chief Gossett says the teen that shot the deer did have a hunting license and doesn't believe he went into the neighborhood to kill a family's pet.
"That doesn't release these men from what they did, what they did was dangerous and it's unacceptable," Gossett added.
It was also unacceptable for this community that grieves for Bambi .
"They took a family member away from us," said Jessica Carter, who also helped raise Bambi.
"I hurt so bad. I want them to know. They're not hunters, it's a cruel-hearted person that drove up and shot our Bambi," said Joan Carter.
The suspect is scheduled to appear in court at the end of January.