- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville police say they are investigating the shooting death of a family’s horse as a possible hate crime.

Misty Blue was a Tennessee walking horse born on the family farm of Devinder Sandhu in 1999. Sandhu’s son named her Misty Blue because the morning of her birth was misty, giving the hills a bluish tint, Sandhu said.

The farm was her domain where “she was the princess,” Sandhu said.

Farm workers found her Tuesday morning when they were bringing grain to the animals.

“Misty Blue usually is the first one to lead the charge to get the grain, or to come to the fence. The guys were concerned because she wasn’t there,” Sandhu said. “And her mother, Scarlett, was calling and calling and wouldn’t come out of the barn.”

Misty Blue’s body was near a private, dead end gravel road. She had been shot in the right temple.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Sandhu said. “I still can’t believe it.”

Sandhu has lived in Nashville for more than 40 years, but his family is originally from India. He wears a turban and beard as an expression of his Sikh faith. Sandhu said he is often mistaken for a Muslim. When he is working in the field as an environmental engineer, people yell at him from out of cars when they are driving by.

He tries not to let it bother him.

“I’m also a soccer referee, so I’m used to people yelling at me,” he said.

The family has raised $10,000 to offer as a reward for anyone who can help police find the person who killed Misty Blue.

Police spokeswoman Kris Mumford said Friday that the specialized investigations division, which investigates hate crimes, is involved.

“We’re hoping somebody will talk and know who did this and tell us,” she said.

Sandhu said Scarlett still goes to the barn to look for Misty Blue.

“The officer asked us her value and I said, ‘She’s priceless,’” Sandhu said.

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