BLOSSOM VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - Four days later, the owners of a Blossom Valley horse rescue speaking out after a tragic night left one person and one horse dead, and another horse injured.
Kathy San Filippo has never felt so good walking her 5-year old horse Hashtag. Days ago, four shotgun pellets were removed from his right hind leg.
“He’s walking much freer. He’s walking without having to be encouraged,” said San Filippo.
The good news comes after the tragedy at the Rocking Horse Ranch, a nonprofit animal rescue that utilizes horses to help people in various counseling programs.
On Friday morning, around 1 a.m., San Filippo, who heads the nonprofit, was woken up by a loud noise.
“As I woke up, I was aware that it was gunshots. I got up and went to the window, and there were more gunshots,” said San Filippo.
She says her husband went to investigate, and he found near the horse stalls, a body later identified as 37-year-old Kirill Povolotskiy, the man renting a room at the ranch.
The kitchen window of the guesthouse he was renting was shattered. A trail of shotgun pellets was discovered outside. San Filippo says outside and inside the horse stalls, numerous spent shotgun shells were found.
Investigators say there was no trauma to the body and they don't believe anyone other than Povolotskiy was involved in the incident.
Two horses were shot in the shooting. Rockstar, a 15-year-old horse that was one of the San Filippo’s first-ever rescues, was euthanized. More than 50 pellets were discovered in one hind leg.
The scene was emotional for everyone, including investigators.
“I was bawling. My husband and I just held him and cried. The homicide team … they were supporting us and not okay,” said San Filippo. “Rocky was an amazing horse. He started off so fearful. He overcame that and taught so many people to overcome their own fears.”
The other injured horse was Hashtag, who barely moved for days until his condition started improving.
“So relieved. So relieved. Couldn’t bear to lose another horse. So tragic for Kirill’s family. I don’t have words. Just very unreal still,” said San Filiippo.
According to deputies, toxicology results are still pending and a cause of death has not been determined.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the rescue with veterinary and other expenses.