At a bend in the road near Joe's Creek, birds sing and dogs bark. But the rooster no longer crows.
So begins this tale of tragedy, as reported in the St. Petersburg Times. According to the report, Gilman the Rooster died as he had lived, greeting the day as it broke over the Florida horizon. Neighbors said that Gilman led a flock of chickens who had lived in and freely roamed the neighborhood for years, apparently owned by no one but loved by all. Or all but one, anyway.
The flock would roost at night in a tree near James Dominic's house, and Gilman would leap onto the roof in the morning to signal the dawn. "He was like the neighborhood alarm clock," said Deanna Schwartz, who lives next door to Dominic. Another resident said, "You heard the rooster and it made you feel good."
But it apparently triggered a different feeling in Eric Nicastro -- one of murderous rage. Later, residents said they remembered Nicastro had been asking who owned the chickens, and when he learned they were feral he began to plot against them. Authorities said he started out with a BB gun, but soon upgraded to a .45-caliber handgun, renowned for its rooster-stopping power. The large-caliber bullets made short work of Gilman, who was hit by at least one of four shots that Nicastro fired. "I got him!" Schwartz heard the murderer say. His victory complete, Nicastro callously threw his victim's body into the creek.
Neighbors who heard the shots called police. They arrived in time to find the shooter walking down the street, still carrying his weapon. They did not arrest him but have recommended prosecution for "improper exhibition of a firearm." As of today there was no news as to whether Nicastro would be prosecuted. As the Times reported semi-somberly, a pall has settled over the neighborhood.
As the sun set Saturday, bread crumbs remained on Dominic's roof.
Link: St. Petersburg Times