GASTONIA, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — A horse was gunned down in her stable in Gastonia, and police aren’t sure who did it.

Sunday night around 11:15, people who live along Rankin Rd. heard numerous loud gun shots.

“It was a ‘pop, pop, pop,’” said neighbor Cassie Dumas.

She and her husband jumped out of bed to see what it was. They’d later find out someone fired 18 rounds. In the dark, they checked on the animals, and particularly a four-year-old horse named Moonpie.

“She was standing at the fence,” Dumas recalled, “and we couldn’t tell anything was wrong with her with the flashlight.”

What the couple couldn’t see is that Moonpie had been shot at least four times, and only had hours to live.

“It’s just horrifying,” she said. “”I can’t imagine why someone would shoot a defenseless horse.”

Moonpie was kind of a neighborhood pet.

“One of the neighbors was really upset,” Dumas said, “because she says she comes up and feeds her apples.”

Dumas told FOX 46 the owner only just got Moonpie.

“He’s just upset,” she said. “We’re just all kind of in shock.”

Further down the street, others knew something wasn’t right when they heard the gunfire.

“It’s pretty quiet around here,” said Joseph Stanley, another neighbor, “and you hear shots like that that late, you don’t really know what to do.”

Holes in the fence show where bullets pierced Moonpie’s pen, and the fresh mound of dirt now marks her grave.